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Price 2s. each, boards. 

The Greatest Plague of Life; or, The 
Adventures of a Lady in Search of a Good 
Servant. Edited by the BROTHERS MAYHEW- 
With Illustrations by GEOBOB CRUIKSHANK. 

Whom to Marry and How to Get 
Married ; or, The Adventures of a Lady in 
Search of a Good Husband. Edited by the 
UROTHEES MAYHEW, and Illustrated by GEOBGB 

Mornings at Bow Street. With Steel 
Frontispiece and 21 Illustrations by GEOBGB 

A AD .> 


^. 3 


IT is some years now, since we first conceived a strong vene- 
ration for Clowns, and an intense anxiety to know what they 
did with themselves out of pantomime time, and off the stage. 
As a child, we were accustomed to pester our relations and 
friends with questions out of number concerning these gentry; 
whether their appetite for sausages and such like wares was 
always the same, and if so, at whose expense they were main- 
tained; whether they were ever taken up for pilfering other 
people's goods, or were forgiven by everybody because it was 
only done in fun ; how it was they got such beautiful com- 
plexions, and where they lived; and whether they were born 
Clowns, or gradually turned into Clowns as they grew up. On 
these and a thousand other points our curiosity was insatiable. 
Nor were our speculations confined to Clowns alone : they ex- 
tended to Harlequins, Pantaloons, and Columbines, all of whom 
we believed to be real and veritable personages, existing in the 
same forms and characters all the year round. How often have 
we wished that the Pantaloon were our god-father ! and how 
often thought that to marry a Columbine would be to attain the 
highest pitch of all human felicity ! 

The delights the ten thousand million delights of a panto- 
mime come streaming upon us now, even of the pantomime 
which came lumbering down in Richardson's waggons at fair- 
time to the dull little town in which we had the honour to be 
brought up, and which a long row of small boys, with frills as 


white as they could be washed, and hands as clean as they would 
come, were taken to behold the glories of, in fair daylight. 

"We feel again all the pride of standing in a body on the plat- 
form, the observed of all observers in the crowd below, while 
the junior usher pays away twenty-four ninepences to a stout 
gentleman under a Gothic arch, with a hoop of variegated lamps 
swinging over his head. Again we catch a glimpse (too brief, 
alas !) of the lady with a green parasol in her hand, on the out- 
side stage of the next show but one, who supports herself on 
one foot, on the back of a majestic horse, blotting-paper co- 
loured and white; and once again our eyes open wide with 
wonder, and our hearts throb with emotion, as we deliver our 
card-board check into the very hands of the Harlequin himself, 
who, all glittering with spangles, and dazzling with many 
colours, deigns to give us a word of encouragement and com- 
mendation as we pass into the booth ! 

But what was this even this to the glories of the inside, 
where, amid the smell of saw-dust, and orange-peel, sweeter far 
than violets to youthful noses, the first play being over, the 
lovers united, the ghost appeased, the baron killed, and every- 
thing made comfortable and pleasant, the pantomime itself 
began! "What words can describe the deep gloom of the 
opening scene, where a crafty magician holding a young lady 
in bondage was discovered, studying an enchanted book to the 
soft music of a gong ! or in what terms can we express the 
thrill of ecstasy with which, his magic power opposed by su- 
perior art, we beheld the monster himself converted into Clown ! 
"What mattered it that the stage was three yards wide, and four 
deep? we never saw it. "We had no eyes, ears, or corporeal 
senses, but for the pantomime. And when its short career was 
r-jn, and the baron previously slaughtered, coming forward 
with hia hand upon his heart, announced that for that favour 
Mr. Richardson returned his most sincere thanks, and the per- 
io/jnaiicea would commence again in a quarter of an hour, what 


jest could equal the effects of tlie Baron's indignation and sur- 
prise, when the Clown, unexpectedly peeping from behind the 
curtain, requested the audience " not to believe it, for it was all 
gammon!" Who but a Clown could have called forth the roar 
of laughter that succeeded; and what witchery but a Clown's 
could have caused the junior usher himself to declare aloud, as 
he shook his sides and smote his knee in a moment of irrepres- 
sible joy, that that was the very best thing he had ever heard 

"We have lost that clown now ; he is still alive, though, for 
we saw him only the day before last Bartholomew Fair, eating 
a real saveloy, and we are sorry to say he had deserted to the 
illegitimate drama, for he was seated on one of " Clark's Circus'* 
waggons: we have lost that Clown and that pantomime, but 
our relish for the entertainment still remains unimpaired. Each 
successive Boxing-day finds us in the same state of high excite- 
ment and expectation. On that eventful day, when new panto- 
mimes are played for the first time at the two great theatres, 
and at twenty or thirty of the little ones, we still gloat as 
formerly upon the bills which set forth tempting descriptions of 
the scenery in staring red and black letters, and still fall down 
upon our knees, with other men and boys, upon the pavement 
by shop-doors, to read them down to the very last line. J^ay. 
we still peruse with all eagerness and avidity the exclusive 
accounts of the coming wonders in the theatrical newspapers of 
the Sunday before, and still believe them as devoutly as we did 
before twenty years' experience had shown us that they are 
always wrong. 

With these feelings upon the subject of pantomimes, it is no 
matter of surprise that when we first heard that Grimaldi had 
left some memoirs of his life behind him, we were in a perfect 
fever until we had pemsed the manuscript. It was no sooner 
placed in our hands by " the adventurous and spirited pub- 
lisher," (if our recollection serve us, this is the customary stylo 


of the complimentary little paragraphs regarding new books 
which usually precede advertisements about Savory's clocks in 
the newspapers,) than we sat down at once and read it everf 

See how pleasantly things come about, if you let them take 
their own course ! This mention of the manuscript brings us 
at once to the very point we are anxious to reach, and which we 
should have gained long ago, if we had not travelled into those 
Irrelevant remarks concerning pantomimic representations. 

For about a year before his death, Grimaldi was employed in 
writing a full account of his life and adventures. It was his 
chief occupation and amusement; and as people who write their 
own lives, even in the midst of very many occupations, often 
find time to extend them to a most inordinate length, it is no 
wonder that his account of himself was exceedingly voluminous. 

This manuscript was confided to Mr. Thomas Egerton Wilks : 
to alter and revise, with a view to its publication. Mr. Wilks, 
who was well acquainted with Grimaldi and his connexions, 
applied himself to the task of condensing it throughout, and 
wholly expunging considerable portions, which, so far as the 
public were concerned, possessed neither interest nor amusement, 
he likewise interspersed here and there the substance of such 
personal anecdotes as he had gleaned from the writer in desultory 
conversation. While he was thus engaged, Grimaldi died. 

Mr. Wilks having by the commencement of September con- 
cluded his labours, offered the manuscript to the present pub- 
lisher, by whom it was shortly afterwards purchased uncondi- 
tionally, with the full consent and concurrence of Mr. Eichard 
Hughes, Grimaldi's executor. 

The present Editor of these Memoirs has felt it necessary to 
say thus much in explanation of their origin, in order to es- 
tablish beyond doubt the unquestionable authenticity of the 
memoirs they contain. 

His ovrn share in them is stated in a few words. Being much 


struck by several incidents in the manuscript such as the de- 
scription of Gximaldi's infancy, the burglary, the brother's 
return from sea under the extraordinary circumstances detailed, 
the adventure of the man with the two fingers on his left hand, 
the account of Mackintosh and his friends, and many other 
passages, and thinking that they might be related in a more 
attractive manner, (they were at that time told in the first 
person, as if by Grimaldi himself, although they had necessarily 
lost any original manner which his recital might have imparted 
to them ;) he accepted a proposal from the publisher to edit the 
book, and has edited it to the best of his ability, altering its 
form throughout, and making such other alterations as he con- 
ceived would improve the narration of the facts, without any 
departure from the facts themselves. 

He has merely to add, that there has been no book-making in 
this case. He has not swelled the quantity of matter, but 
materially abridged it. The account of Grimaldi's first courtship 
may appear lengthy in its present form; but it has undergoiio 
a double and most comprehensive process of abridgment. The 
old man was garrulous upon a subject on which the youth had 
felt so keenly; and as the feeling did him honour in both stages 
of life, the Editor has not had the heart to reduce it further. 

Here is the book, then, at last. After so much pains from so 
many hands including the good right hand of G-EORGE CRUIK- 
SHANK, which has seldom been better exercised, he humbly 
hopes it may find favour with the public. 

Frbntaiy, 1S38. 


introductory Chapter page v 


His Grandfather and Father His Birth and first appearance at 
Drury Lane Theatre and at Sadler's Wells His Father's severity 
Miss Farren The Earl of Derby and the Wig the Fortune-box 
and Charity's reward His Father's pretended Death, and the beha- 
viour of himself and his brother thereupon 1 


1788 to 1794. 

The Father's real Death His Will, and failure of the Executor 
Generous conduct of Grimaldi's Schoolmaster, and of Mr. 
Wroughton the Comedian Smart running against time Kind- 
ness of Sheridan Grimaldi's industry and amusements Fly~ 
catching Expedition in search of the " Dartford Blues "Mrs. 
Jordan Adventure on Clapham Common : the piece of Tin His 
first Lve and its consequences 17 


1794 to 1797. 

Grimaldi falls in Love His success He meets with an accident 
which brings the Reader acquainted with that invaluable specific 
"Grimaldi's Embrocation" He rises gradually in his Profession 
The Pentonville Gang of Burglars , . 28 


1797 to 1798. 

The Thieves make a second attempt ; alarmed by their perse- 
verance, Grimaldi repairs to Hatton Garden Interview with Mr. 
Trott ; ingenious device of that gentleman, and its result on the 
fchird visit of the Burglars Comparative attractions of Pantomime 


and Spectacle Trip to Gravesend and Chatham Disagreeable 
recognition of a good-humoured friend, and an agreeable mode of 
journeying recommended to all Travellers 40 



An extraordinary circumstance concerning himself, with another 
extraordinary circumstance concerning his Grandfather Specimen 
of a laconic epistle, and an account of two interviews with Mr. 
Hughes, in the latter of which a benevolent gentleman is duly re- 
warded for his trouble Preparations for his marriage Fatiguing 
effects of his exertions at the Theatre 51 



Tribulations connected with " Old Lucas," the constable, with an 
account of the subsequent proceedings before Mr. Blamire, the 
magistrate, at Hatton Garden, and the mysterious appearance of a 
silver staff A guinea wager with a jocose friend on the Dartford 
Road The Prince of Wales, Sheridan, and the Crockery Girl . 62 


1798 to 1801. 

Partiality of George the Third for Theatrical Entertainments 
Sheridan's kindness to Grimaldi His domestic affliction and severe 
distress The production of Harlequin Amulet a new era in Panto- 
mime Pigeon-fancying and Wagering His first Provincial Excur- 
sion with Mrs. Baker, the eccentric Manageress John Kemble and 
Jew Davis, with a new reading Increased success at Maidstone and 
Canterbury Polite interview with John Kemble ; .... 76 


1801 to 1803. 

Hard work to counterbalance great gains Hits (lisscnaige from 

Drury Lane, and his discharge at Sadler's Wells His return to the 

former house Monk Lewis Anecdote of him and Sheridan, and of 
Sheridan and the Prince of Wales Grimaldi gains a son and loses 
all his capital gg 




Containing a very extraordinary incident well worthy of the 
reader's attention 97 


1803 to 1805. 

Bologna and his Family An Excursion into Kent with that per- 
sonageMr. Mackintosh, the gentleman of landed property, and his 
preserves A great day's sporting ; and a scene at the Garrick's 
Head in Bow Street, between a Landlord, a Gamekeeper, Bologna 
and Grimaldi 106 


1805 to 1806. 

Stage Affairs and Stage Quarrels Mr. Graham, the Bow Street 
Magistrate and Drury Lane Manager Mr. Peake Grimaldi is 
introduced to Mr. Harris by John Kemble Leaves Drury Lane 
Theatre and engages at Covent Garden Mortification of the autho- 
rities at "the other house" He joins Charles Dibdin's Company 
and visits Dublin The wet Theatre III success of the speculation, 
and great success of his own Benefit Observations on the com- 
parative strength of Whisky Punch and Rum Punch, with interest- 
ing experiment 115 


1806 to 1807. 

He returns to town, gets frozen to the roof of a coach on the road, 
and pays his rent twice over when he arrives at home Mr. Charles 
Farley His first appearance at Covent Garden Valentine and 
Orson Production of "Mother Goose," and its immense success 
The mysterious adventure of the Six Ladies and the Six Gentle- 
men 124 



The mystery cleared up chiefly through the instrumentality of Mr. 
Alderman Harmer ; and the characters of the Six Ladies and the 
Six Gentlemen are satisfactorily explained The Trial of Mackin- 
tosh for Burglary Its result 133 



1807 to 1808. 

Bradbury, the Clown His voluntary confinement in a Madhouse, 
to screen an "Honourable" Thief His release, strange conduct, 
subsequent career, and death Dreadful Accident at Sadler's Wells 
The night-drives to Finchley Trip to Birmingham Mr. Mac- 
ready, the Manager and his curious Stage-properties Sudden recal 
to Town 148 


1808 to 1809. 

Covent Garden Theatre destroyed by fire Grimaldi makes a trip 
to Manchester : he meets with an accident there, and another at 
Liverpool The Sir Hugh Myddleton Tavern at Sadler's Wells, and 
a description of some of its frequenters, necessary to a full under- 
standing of the succeeding chapter 158 


Grimaldi 'a Adventure on flighgate Hill, and its consequences . 1G5 


1809 to 1812. 

Opening of the new Covent Garden Theatre The great 0. P. 
Rows Grimaldi's first appearance as Clown in the public streets 
Temporary embarrassments Great success at Cheltenham and 
Gloucester He visits Berkeley Castle, and is introduced to Lord 
Byron Fish sauce and Apple Pie 172 


1812 to 1816. 

A Clergyman's Dinner-party at Bath First Appearance of Gri- 
maldi's Son, and Death of his old friend Mr. Hughes Grimaldi 
plays at three Theatres on one night, and has his salary stopped for 
his pains His severe illness Second journey to Bath Davidge, 
"Billy Coombes" and the Chest Facetiousness of the aforesaid 
Billy 183 



1816 to 1817. 

He quits Sadler's "VVells in consequence of a disagreement with 
the Proprietors Lord Byron Retirement of John Kemble Im- 
mense success of Grimaldi in the provinces, and his great gains A 
scene in a Barber's Shop 194 



More provincial success Bologna and his economy Comparative 
clearness of Welsh Rare-bits and Partridges Remarkably odd modes 
of saving money 203 


1817 to 1818. 

Production of "Baron Munchausen" Anecdote of Eliar the Har- 
lequin, showing how he jumped through the Moon and put his hand 
out Grimaldi becomes a Proprietor of Sadler's Wells Anecdotes 
of the late Duke of York, Sir Godfrey Webster, a Gold Snuff box, 
his late Majesty, Newcastle Salmon, and a Coal Mine . . . 209 


1818 to 1823. 

Proht and Loss Appearance of his Son at Covent Garden His 
last engagement at Sadler's Wells Accommodation of the Giants in 
the Dublin Pavilion Alarming state of his health His engagement 
at the Cobui-g The liberality of Mr. Harris Rapid decay of Gri- 
:naldi's constitution, his great sufferings, and last performance at 
Oovent Garden He visits Cheltenham and Birmingham with great 
luccess Colonel Berkeley, Mr. Charles Kemble, and Mr. Buna 218 


1823 to 1827. 

Grimaldi's great afflictions augmented by the dissipation and 
recklessness of his Son Compelled to retire from Covent Garden 
Theatre, where he is succeeded by him New Speculation at Sadler's 
\7ells Changes in the system of Management, and their results 
-Sir James Scarlett and a blushing Witness 22 




Great kindness of Miss Kelly towards Grimaldi His farewell 
benefit at Sadler's Wells ; last appearance, and farewell address 
He makes preparations for one more appearance at Covent GardeM, 
but, in a conversation with Mr. Charles Kemble, meets with a dis- 
appointment In consequence of Lord Segrave's benevolent inter- 
ference, a benefit is arranged for him at Drury Lane His last inter- 
view with Mr. Charles Kemble and Fawcett 236 

1828 to 1836. 

The farewell benefit at Dmry Lane Grimaldi's last appearance 
and parting address The Drury Lane Theatrical Fund, and its 
prompt reply to his communication Miserable career and death 
of his Son His Wife dies, and he returns from Woolwich (whither 
he had previously removed) to London His retirement . . 244 

Conclusion , 253 





LLis Grandfather and Father His Birth and first appearance at Drury Lana 
Theatre, and at Sadler's Wells His Father's severity Miss Farren The 
Earl of Derby and the Wig The Fortune-box and Charity's reward His 
Father's pretended death, and the behaviour of himself and his brother 

THE paternal grandfather of Joseph Grimaldi was well known, 
both to the French and Italian public, as an eminent dancer, 
possessing a most extraordinary degree of strength and agility, 
qualities which, being brought into full play by the constant 
exercise of his frame in his professional duties, acquired for him 
the distinguishing appellation of "Iron Legs." JDibdin, in his 
History of the Stage, relates several anecdotes of his prowess in 
these respects, many of which are current elsewhere, though 
the authority on which they rest would appear from his grand- 
son's testimony to be somewhat doubtful ; the best known of 
these, however, is perfectly true. Jumping extremely high one 
night in some performance on the stage, possibly in a fit of en- 
thusiasm occasioned by the august presence of the Turkish 
Ambassador, who, witn his suite, occupied the stage-box, he 
actually broke one of the chandeliers which in those times hung 
above the stage doors ; and one of the glass drops was struck 
with some violence against the eye or countenance of the Turkish 
Ambassador aforesaid. The dignity of this great personage 
being much affronted, a formal complaint was made to the 
Court of Erance, who gravely commanded "Iron Legs" to 
apologize, which " Iron Legs" did in due form, to the great 
amusement of himself, and the court, and the public ; and, in 
short, of everybody else but the exalted gentleman whose person 



had been grievously outraged. The mighty affair terminated 
in the appearance of a squib, which has been thus translated : 

Hail, Iron Legs ! immortal pair, 

Agile, firm knit, and peerless, 
That skim the earth, or vault in air, 

Aspiring high and fearless. 
Glory of Paris ! outdoing compeers, 

Brave pair ! may nothing hurt ye ; 
Scatter at will our chandeliers, 

And tweak the nose of Turkey. 
And should a too presumptuous foe 

But dare these shores to land on, 
His well-kicked men shall quickly know 

"We've Iron Legs to stand on. 

This circumstance occurred on the French stage. The first 
Grimaldi* who appeared in England was the father of the sub- 

* Giuseppe Grimaldi was really " Iron Legs ;" of the grandfather no parti- 
culars are known. The father of our Joe was originally a pantomime actor at 
the fairs in Italy and France, at the time these fairs supplied the French Theatre 
with some of the finest dancers that have conferred distinction on that stage. 
His first employment in England was at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket, 
where the lighter kind of ballet proving attractive, similar dances were intro- 
duced early in the season 1758, 1759, on the boards of Drury Lane and Covent 
Garden Theatres. At the former, under Garrick's management, a new panto- 
mime dance, entitled "The Millers," was performed for the first time, October 
12th, 1758 ; in which Signor Grimaldi, it was announced, made his first appear- 
ance on the English Stage. A writer in the "London Chronicle," in rei'erence 
to this piece, observes, as regards the debutant " Grimaldi is a man of great 
strength and agility ; he indeed treads the air. If he has any fault, he is rather 
too comical ; and from some feats of his performing, which I have been a witness 
to, at the King's Theatre, in the Haymarket, those spectators will see him, it is 
my opinion, with most pleasure, who are least solicitous whether he breaks his 
neck, or not." In reference to the dance of "The Millers," composed by 
Grimaldi, then deemed an innovation, he continues : 

" Some people hold dancing to be below the dignity of a regular theatre ; but 
I can by no means subscribe to their opinion, since one of the principal ends 
of every theatre, is to delight ; and everything that can contribute to that 
purpose, under proper restrictions, has an undoubted right to a place there. I 
shall not affect to show my learning, by adding, the ancients not only admitted 
dancing, but thought it a necessary ornament in the performance of the most 
celebrated tragedies. 

" The French in this kind of merit, for many years carried all before them ; 
but of late the Italians seem to have the start of them ; and it must be allowed, 
the latter are much better actors, which, in the comic dance that now almost 
everywhere prevails, is infinitely more requisite, than those graceful postures 
and movements on which the French dancers for the most part pique them- 
selves; but in this case a vast deal depends on the Maitre de Ballet; and 
whoever composed ' The Millers,' has, I think, shown himself a man of genius ; 
the figure of the contra-danse being pleasingly intricate, and the whole admirably 
well adapted to the music. I cannot, however, help observing, he has been 
indebted to Don Quixote ; for when Signor Grimaldi comes in asleep on his ass, 
it is stolen from under him in the same manner that Gines de Passamont robs 
poor Sancho of his, and the same joy is testified by both parties in the re- 
covery of the beloved brute." 

The Drury Lane play-bill, October 10, 1761, announced as "not acted this 
season," a Comedy called the Confederacy; Brass, Mr. King; Flippanta, Mrs. 
Clive. At the end of Act II. an entertainment of Dancing, called the Italian 
Gardener, by Signor Grimaldi, Miss Baker, &c. Garrick's Pageant of the 
Coronation concluded the night's diversion. 

From his first appearance in October, 1758, Grimaldi continued at Drury Lane 


ject of these Memoirs, and the son of " Iron Legs," who, holding 
the appointment of Dentist to Queen Charlotte, came to England 
in that capacity in 1760 ; he was a native of Genoa, and long 
before his arrival in this country had attained considerable 
distinction in his profession. We have not many instances of 
the union of the two professions of dentist and dancing-master ; 
but Grimaldi, possessing a taste for both pursuits, and a much 
higher relish for the latter than the former, obtained leave to 
resign his situation about the Q,ueen, soon after his arrival in 
this country, and commenced giving lessons in dancing and 

as Maitre de Ballet, Primo Buffo, Clown, Pantaloon, or Cherokee, or any part 
required in the ballet, till his death. The dancers, it would appear, were not 
paid during the whole season, but for certain periods ; in the interim they were 
employed, under certain restrictions, at other places of amusement. Those 
belonging to Drury Lane, in G-arrick's time, were in the summer months, and 
from Easter to Michaelmas attached to Sadler's Wells ; and in the bills which 
announced the opening of that suburban theatre, at Easter, 1763 and 1764, 
Signor Grimaldi appears as Maitre de Ballet, and chief dancer. On May 1, in 
the latter year, Grimaldi, and an English dancer named Aldridge, of considerable 
eminence in his profession, jointly had a benefit; Shakspeare's "Tempest" 
was performed, as also the pantomime of " Fortunatus, '" Harlequin by Signor 
Grimaldi. In the September of the same year, at Sadler's Wells, the Signo- 
had another benefit; the bill of the evening is subjoined : 



On Wednesday, September 19, 1764, will be exhibited a Variety of New 


Dancing both serious and comic, viz.: 1. " The Miller's Dance," by Signor 

Duval, Signor Amoire, Signora Mercueius, Mrs, Preston, and others. 2. "The 

Shoemakers," by Signor Grimaldi, Signor Amoire, Miss Wilkinson, and others. 

3. " The Country Wedding," by Signor Duval, Signor Amoire, Signora Mer- 

cucius, Miss Wilkinson, and Signor Grimaldi, and others. 

And by particular desire, for that night only, 

A Double Hornpipe by Master Cape and Miss Taylor. 

Tumbling by Mr. Sturgess, Signor Pedro, and Mr. Garman, 

Singing by Mr. Prentice, Mr. Cooke, and Miss Brown. 

With a variety of Curious Performances by 


The Wire by Master Wilkinson. 

The Musical Glasses by Miss Wilkinson, accompanied by Master Wilkinson. 
The whole to conclude with a New Entertainment of Music and Dancing, called 


Harlequin .... Mr. Banks. 

Don Quixote, Mr. Niepekcr SancLr,, Mr. Warner. 

Columbire . . . Miss Wilkinson. 
The Paintings, Music, and Habits, are all entirely New. 

Pit and Boxes, 2s. 6d. Gallery, Is. 6d. 

To begin exactly at Six.] [Vivant Rex et Regina.] 

Tickets and Places to be had of Signor Grimaldi, at the New Tunbridge Wells ; 

and he begs the favour of those Ladies and Gentlemen, who have already 

taken Places, to send their servants by Half-an-Hour after Four o'clock. 

At Drury Lane, December 26, in the sameyear, was performed the Tragedy 

f " The Eari of Essex " at the end of Act IV. a Dance called "The Irish Lilt/' 

B 2 


fencing, occasionally giving his pupils a taste of his quality in 
his old capacity. In those days of minuets and cotillions, private 
dancing was a much more laborious and serious affair than it is 
at present ; and the younger branches of the nobility and gentry- 
kept Mr. Grimaldi in pretty constant occupation. In many 
scattered notices of OUR Grimaldi's life, it has been stated that 
the father lost his situation at court in consequence of the rude- 
ness of his behaviour, and some disrespect which he had shown 
the King ; an accusation which his son always took very much to 
heart, and which the continual patronage of the King and 
Queen, bestowed upon him publicly, on all possible occasions, 
sufficiently proves to be unfounded. 

His new career being highly successful, Mr. Grimaldi was 
appointed ballet-master of old Drury Lane Theatre and Sadler's 
Wells, with which he coupled the situation of primo buffo ; in 
this double capacity he became a very great favourite with the 
public, and their majesties, who were nearly every week accus- 
tomed to command some pantomime of which Grimaldi was the 
hero. He bore the reputation of being a very honest man, and 
a very charitable one, never turning a deaf ear to the entreaties 
of the distressed, but always willing, by every means in his 
power, to relieve the numerous reduced and wretched persons 
irho applied to him for assistance. It may be added and his 
on always mentioned it with just pride-^-that he was never 
known to be inebriated : a rather scarce virtue among players 
of later times, and one which men of far higher rank in their 
profession would do well to profit by. 

He appears to have been a very singular and eccentric man. 
It would be difficult to account for the little traits of his cha- 
racter which are developed in the earlier pages of this book, 
unless this circumstance were borne in mind. He purchased 
a small quantity of ground at Lambeth once, part of which 
was laid out as a garden ; he entered into possession of it in 
the very depth of a most inclement winter, but he was so 
impatient to ascertain how this garden would look in full bloom, 
that, finding it quite impossible to wait till the coming of 
spring and summer gradually developed its beauties, he had 
it at once decorated with an immense quantity of artificial 

by Mr. Aldridge, Miss Baker, and others. After which, not performed these 
three years, an Entertainment in Italian Grotesque Characters, called " Queen 
Mab." Harlequin, by Mr. Hooker; Pantaloon, by Signor Grimaldi ; Silvio, by 
Mr. Baddeley ; Puck, Master Cape ; Queen Mab, by Miss Ford : Columbine, by 
Miss Baker. The facetious Ned Eooker, principal Harlequin at Drury Lane, 
was a painter of great excellence : his paintings and drawings are still held in 
high repute, and Lis theatrical scenery was not surpassed in his time: some of it 
was in use till recently at the Haymarket Theatre. 

Grimaldi continued at Sadler's Wells till the close of the season of 1767, and 
never afterwards was employed there. Signor Spinacuti and his "funam- 
buhstical" monkey, so took the town by surprise in 1768, that dancinz at that 
theatre was altogether thrown into the back-Around. 


flowers, and tlie branches of all the trees bent beneath the weight 
of the most luxuriant foliage, and the most abundant crops of 
fruit, all, it is needless to say, artificial also. 

A singular trait in this individual's character, was a vague 
and profound dread of the 14th day of the month. At its ap- 
proach he was always nervous, disquieted, and anxious directly 
it had passed he was another man again, and invariably ex- 
claimed, in his broken English, " Ah ! now I am safe for anoder 
month." If this circumstance were unaccompanied by any 
singular coincidence it would be scarcely worth mentioning; 
but it is remarkable that he actually died on the 14th day of 
March ; and that he was born, christened, and married on the 
1 4th of the month. 

There are other anecdotes of the same kind told of Henri 
Q,uatre, and others ; this one is undoubtedly true, and it may 
be added to the list of coincidences or presentiments, or by 
whatever name the reader pleases to call them, as a veracious 
and well- authenticated instance. 

These are not the only odd characteristics of the man. He 
was a most morbidly sensitive and melancholy being, and enter- 
tained a horror of death almost indescribable. He was in the 
habit of wandering about churchyards and burying-places, for 
hours together, and would speculate on the diseases of which 
the persons whose remains occupied the graves he walked 
among, had died; figure their death-beds, and wonder how 
many of them had been buried alive in a fit or a trance : a pos- 
sibility which he shuddered to think of, and which haunted him 
both through life and at its close. Such an effect had this fear 
upon his mind, that he left express directions in his will that, 
before his coffin should be fastened down, his head should be 
severed from his body, and the operation was actually performed 
in the presence of several persons. 

It is a curious circumstance, that death, which always filled 
his mind with the most gloomy and horrible reflections, and 
which in his unoccupied moments can hardly be said to have 
been ever absent from his thoughts, should have been chosen by 
him as the subject of one of his most popular scenes in the pan- 
tomimes of the time. Among many others of the same nature, 
he invented the well-known skeleton scene for the clown, which 
was very popular in those days, and is still occasionally repre- 
sented. Whether it be true, that the hypochondriac is most 
prone to laugh at the things which most annoy and terrify him 
in private, as a man who believes in the appearance of spirits 
upon earth is always the foremost to express his unbelief ; or 
whether these gloomy ideas haunted the unfortunate man's 
mind so much, that even his merriment assumed a ghastly hue, 
and Ms comicality sought for grotesque objects in the grave and 
the charnel-house, the fact is equally remarkable. 

This was the same man who, in the time of Lord Greorge 
Gordon's riots, when people, for the purpose of protecting their 


houses from the fury of the mob, inscribed upon their doors the 
words " No Popery," actually, with the view of keeping in the 
right with all plrtSs, and preventing the possioihty ol oftendmg 
any by his form of worship, wrote up "No religion at all; 
which announcement appeared in large characters in front oi 
his house, in Little Russell-street.* The idea was perfectly 
successful; but whether from the humour of the description, 
or because the rioters did not happen to go down that particular 
street, we are unable to determine. . . 

On the 18th of December, 1779, the year in which Garrick 
died, Joseph Grimaldi, " Old Joe," was born, in Stanhope-street, t 
Clare-market ; a part of the town then as now, much frequented 
bv theatrical people, in consequence of its vicinity to tne 
theatres. At the period of his birth, his eccentric lather was 
sixty-five years old, and twenty-fi ve months afterwards another 
son was born to him Joseph's only brother. , 

The child did not remain very long in a state of helpless and 
unprofitable infancy, for at the age of one year and eleven, 
months he was brought out by his father on the boards of Old 
Drury, where he made his first bow and his first tumble, t Ihe 

* Henry Angelo, in his Keminiscences, gives a different version of this story. 
"The father of Grimaldi, for many years the favourite clown, was my dancing- 
master when I was a boy, and encouraged my harlequin and monkey tricks ; he re- 
lated the anecdote to me, himself, and I am therefore justified in repeating it. At 
the time of the riots, in June, 1780, he resided in a front room, on the second 
floor in Holborn, on the same side of the way near to Bed Lion Square, when 
the mob passing by the house, and Grimaldi being a foreigner, they thought he 
must be a papist. On hearing he lived there, they all stopped, and there was a 
general shouting ; a cry of 'No Popery !' was raised, and they were about to 
assail the house, when Grimaldi, who had been listening all the time, and knew 
their motives, put his head out of the window from the second floor, and making 
comical grimaces, called out, ' Genteelrnen, in dis hose dere be no religion at all.' 
Laughing at their mistake, the mob proceeded on, first giving him three huzzas, 
though his house, unlike all the otbers, had not written on the door ' No 

t Joe, from some erroneous information he had received, always stated he was 
born in Stanhope-street, Clare-market, December 18, 1779 ; he mentioned this 
in his farewell address at Sadler's Wells, and again subscribed that date at the 
end of his autobiographical notes. He was in error : a reference to the baptismal 
register of St. Clement's Danes, proved ho was born on December 18, 1778, and 
that he was baptized as the son of Joseph and Kebecea, on the 28th of the 
same month and year. From this entry, it might be inferred that Joe was 
legitimate ; but we are sorry to be compelled to record that he was not so. 
Kebecca was Mrs. Brooker, who had been from her infancy a dancer at Drury 
Lane, and subsequently, at Sadler's Wells, played old women, or anything to 
render herself generally useful. Mr. Hughes and others who well remember 
her, describe her as having been a short, stout, very dark woman. The same 
baptismal register from 1773 to 1788, hs been carefully inspected, bu no men- 
tion occurs of Joe's only brother, John Baptist, or of any other of the Grimaldi 

J Joe's first appearance was at Sadler's Wells, not at Drury Lane; the an- 
nouncement bill for the opening on April 16, Easter Monday, 1781, of the former 
theatre, tells us of Dancing by Mr. Le Mercier, Mr. Languish, Master and Misa 
Grimaldi, and Mrs. Button. Here we see Joe, and his sister Mary, afterwards 
Mrs. Williamson, thrust forward sufGciently early to earn their bread. Grimaldi, 
in his farewell address, on his last appearance at Sadler's Wells, pathetically 


piece in which his precocious powers were displayed was the 
well-known pantomime of Robinson Crusoe, in wnich the father 
sustained the part of the Shipwrecked Mariner, and the son 
performed that of the Little Clown. The child's success was 
complete ; he was instantly placed on the establishment, ac- 
corded a magniiicent weekly salary of fifteen shillings, and every 
succeeding year was brought forward in some new and pro- 
minent part. He became a favourite behind the curtain as well 
as before it, being henceforth distinguished in the green-room 
as " Clever little Joe ;" and Joe he was called to the last day of 
his life. 

In 1782, he first appeared at Sadler's Wells, in the arduous 
character of a monkey ; and here he was fortunate enough to 
excite as much approbation, as he had previously elicited in 
the part of clown at Drury Lane. He immediately became a 
member of the regular company at this theatre, as he had done 
at the other ; and here he remained (one season only excepted) 
until the termination of his professional life, forty-nine years 

Now that he had made, or rather that his father had made 
for him, two engagements, by which he was bound to appear at 
two theatres on the same evening, and at very nearly the same 
time, his labours began in earnest. They would have been 
arduous for a man, much more so for a cnild ; and it will be 
obvious, that if at any one portion of his life his gains were very 
great, the actual toil both of mind and body by which they were 
purchased was at least equally so. The stage-stricken young 
gentlemen who hang about Sadler's Wells, and Astleys, and the 
Surrey, and private theatres of all kinds, and who long to 
embrace the theatrical profession because it is " so eas^," little 
dream of all the anxieties and hardships, and privations and 
sorrows, which make the sum of most actors' lives. 

We have already remarked that the father of Grimaldi was 
an eccentric man ; he appears to have been peculiarly eccentric, 
and rather unpleasantly so, in the correction of his son. Tha 

alluded to this fact" at a very early age, before that of three years, I was in- 
troduced to the public, by my father, at this theatre." 

That Joe did not play the "Little Clown" in Sheridan's Pantomime of "Robin- 
son Crusoe," is evident from the construction of the drama. On January 29, 
1781, after the " Winter's Tale," Florizel, Mr. Brereton ; Perdita, Mrs. Brereton, 
afterwards Mrs. J. P. Kemble ; and Hermione, Miss Farren; was performed, 
for the first time, " Robinson Crusoe ; or, Harlequin Friday." The bill of the 
night lets us know, that the principal characters were by Mr. Wright, Mr. 
Grimaldi, Mr. Delpini, Mr. Suett, Mr. Gaudry, and Miss Collett. This panto- 
mime was performed thirty-eight times that season. Grimaldi played Friday, 
not the " Shipwrecked Mariner;" and the probability is, that young Joe made 
his first appearance on the boards of Old Drury, in the Pantomime of 1782, 
entitled " The Triumph of Mirth ; or, Harlequin's Wedding," the principal 
characters in which were by Wright, Grimaldi, and Delphmi. There were 
many minor persons of the drama. 


child "being bred up to play all kinds of fantastic tricks, was as 
much a clown, a monkey, 'or anything- else that was droll and 
ridiculous, off the stage, as on it ; and being incited thereto by 
the occupants of the green-room, used to skip and tumble about 
as much for their diversion as that of the public. All this was 
carefully concealed from the father, who, whenever he did 
happen to observe any of the child's pranks, always < admi- 
nistered the same punishment a sound thrashing ; terminating 
in his being lifted up by the hair of the head, and stuck in a 
corner, whence his father, with a severe countenance and awful 
voice, would tell him "to venture to move at his peril." 

Venture to move, however, he did, for no sooner would the 
father disappear, than all the cries and tears of the boy would 
disappear too ; and with many of those winks and grins which 
afterwards became so popular, he would recommence his pan- 
tomime with greater vigour than ever ; indeed, nothing could 
ever stop him but the cry of " Joe ! Joe ! here's your father !" 
upon which the boy would dart back into the old corner, and 
begin crying again as if he had never left off. 

This became quite a regular amusement in course of time, and 
whether the father was coming or not, the caution used to be 
given for the mere pleasure of seeing "Joe" run back to his 
corner; this "Joe" very soon discovered, and often confounding 
the warning with the joke, received more severe beatings than 
before, from him whom he very properly describes in his manu- 
script as his "severe but excellent parent." On one of these 
occasions, when he was dressed for his favourite part of the 
little clown in Eobinson Crusoe, with his face painted in exact 
imitation of his father's, which appears to have been part of the 
fun of the scene, the old gentleman brought him into the green- 
room, and placing him in his usual solitary corner, gave him 
strict directions not to stir an inch, on pain of being thrashed, 
and left him. 

The Earl of Derby, who was at that time in the constant habit 
of frequenting the green-room, happened to walk in at the 
moment, and seeing a lonesome-looking little boy dressed and 
painted after a manner very inconsistent with his solitary air, 
good-naturedly called him towards him. 

" Hollo ! here, my boy, come here !" said the Earl. 

Joe made a wonderful and astonishing face, but remained 
where he was. The Earl laughed heartily, and looked round 
for an explanation. 

" He dare not move !" explained Miss Farren, to whom his 
lordship was then much attached, and whom he afterwards 
married ; " his father will beat him if he does." 

"Indeed !" said his lordship. At which Joe, by way of con- 
firmation, made another face more extraordinary than his former 

'I think," said his lordship, laughing again, " the boy is not 


Unite so much afraid of his father as you suppose. Come here, 

With this, he held up half-a-crown, and the child, perfectly- 
well knowing the value of money, darted from his corner, 
seized it with pantomimic suddenness, and was darting back 
again, when the Earl caught him by the arm. 

" Here, Joe !" said the Earl, " take off your wig and throw it 
in the fire, and here's another half-crown for you.' 

!STo sooner said than done. Off came the wig, into the fire 
it went ; a roar of laughter arose ; the child capered about with 
a half-crown in each hand; the Earl, alarmed for^ the conse- 
quences to the boy, busied himself to extricate the wig with the 
tongs and poker ; and the father, in full dress for the Ship- 
wrecked Mariner, rushed into the room at the same moment It 
was lucky for "Little Joe" that Lord Derby promptly and 
humanely interfered, or it is exceedingly probable that his 
father would have prevented any chance of his being buried 
alive at all events, by killing him outright. 

As it was, the matter could not be compromised without his 
receiving a smart beating, which made him cry very bitterly ; 
and the tears running down his face, which was painted "an inch 
thick," came to the "complexion at last," in parts, and made him 
look as much like a little clown as like a little human being, to 
neither of which characters he bore the most distant resemblance. 
He was "called" almost immediately afterwards, and the father 
being in a violent rage, had not noticed the circumstance until the 
little object came on the stage, when a general roar of laughter 
directed his attention to his grotesque countenance. Becoming 
more violent than before, he fell upon him at once, and beat him 
severely, and the child roared vociferously. This was all taken 
by the audience as a most capital joke; shouts of laughter 
and peals of applause shook the house ; and the newspapers next 
morning declared, that it was perfectly wonderful to see a mere 
child perform so naturally, and highly creditable to his father's 
talents as a teacher ! 

This is no bad illustration of some of the miseries of a poor 
actor's life. The jest on the lip, and the tear in the eye, the 
merriment on the mouth, and the aching of the heart, have 
called down the same shouts of laughter and peals of applause a 
hundred times. Characters in a state of starvation are almost 
invariably laughed at upon the stage ; the audience have had 
their dinner. 

The bitterest portion of the boy's punishment was the being 
deprived of the five shillings, which the excellent parent put 
into his own pocket, possibly because he received the child's 
salary also, and in order that everything might be, as Gold- 
smith's Bear-leader has it, "in a concatenation accordingly," 
The Earl gave him half-a-crown every time he saw him after- 


wards though, and the child had good cause for regret when his 
lordship married Miss Farren,* and left the green-room. 

At Sadler's Wells he became a favourite almost as speedily as 
at Drury Lane. King, the comedian,t who was principal pro- 

* Miss Farren, previously to her marriage with the Earl of Derby, took her final 
leave of the stage, as Lady Teazle, in "The School for Scandal," April 8, 1797. 

t Tom King was the manager of Sadler's Wells Theatre from Easter, 1772, till 
the close of the season, 1782; when, on Sheridan's resignation as manager of 
Drury Lane, King succeeded him in September, 1782, and relinquished the 
management of Sadler's Wells to Wroughton, whose term commenced at Easter, 
1783. We have already explained that Joe's father was not employed at Sadler's 
Wells in 1781; and yet, perhaps in consideration of Master and Miss, Signer 
Grimaldi had a benefit at that theatre, on Thursday, September 12, 1782 ; the 
usual diversions were announced, but he did not take any part in the business of 
the evening. The bills announced, " Tickets and Places to be had only of Mr. 
Grimaldi, at No. 5, Princes Street, Drury Lane, and opposite Sadler's Wells 
Gate." Signer Placido's night followed on Monday, September 16, when, with 
other new amusements, was introduced " A new Pantomime Dance, for the 
first time, called ' The Woodcutter ; or, the Lucky Mischance/ characters by 
Mr. Dupuis, then principal dancer at the Wells, Mr. Meunier, Mr. Grimaldi, 
Mrs. Button, Signer Placido, and the Little Devil, being their first Pantomimical 
performance in this kingdom." This was the only appearance of Signer 
Grimaldi at the Wells in 1782 ; for which, possibly, he was paid by Placido. 

Young Joe's introduction to Sadler's Wells, in 1781, as also the benefit here 
noticed, in 1782, were kindnesses probably rendered to Grimaldi by Tom King, 
during the last two years of his management. 

Beynolds, the dramatist, was wont to relate a droll story of the Signer, which 
may not improperly be told here. " Walking one day in Pall Mafl with Tom 
King, we met the celebrated clown, Grimaldi, father of Joe Grimaldi, approach, 
.tig us with a face of the most ludicrous astonishment and delight, when he 
exclaimed : ' Oh, vatt a clevare fellow dat Sheridan is ! shall I tell you ? oui 
yes ; I vill, bien done. I could no nevare see him at de theatre, so je vais 
chez lui, to his house in Hertford-street, muffled in de great coat, and I say, 
'Domestiquel you hear?' 'Yes, Sare.' 'Veil, den, tell your master, dat 
Mistare you know, de Mayor of Stafford be below.' Domestique fly ; and on 
de instant I vas shown into de drawing-room. In von more minuet, Sheridan 
leave his dinner party, enter de room hastily stop suddenly, and say, ' How 
dare you, Grim, play me such a trick ?' Then putting himself into von grand 
passion, he go on : ' Go, Sare ! get out of my house !' ' Begar,' say I, placing 

not, morbleu ! I shall ' 

" ' Oh !' interrupted dis clevare man, 'if I must, Grim, I must,' and as if he 
vare trfes-presse" vary hurry, he write de draft, and pushing it into my hand, he 
squeeze it, and I do push it into my pocket. Eh bien! veil, den, I do make 
haste to de banquier, and giving it to de clerks, I say, vitement, ' four tens, 
if you please, Sare. 'Four tens!' he say, with much surprise; 'de draft be 
only for four pounds !' O, vat a clevare fellow dat Sheridan is ! Veil, den, I 
Ray, ' If you please, Sare, donnez-moi done, dose four pounds.' And den he say, 
' Call again to-morrow.' Next day, I meet de manager in de street, and I say, 
1 Mistare Sheridan ! have you forget ?' and den he laugh, and say, ' Vy, Grim, I 
recollected afterwards I left out de !' O, vat a clevare fellow dat Sheridan 
is !' " 

Again meeting Grimaldi, some months afterwards, Eeynolds asked him, 
irhether the manager had found means to pay him the amount of his dishonoured 
cheque. He replied in the affirmative ; but with a look and tone of voice so 
altered, it seemed as if the successful adroitness of Sheridan's ruse centre ruse, 
had^ afforded him more enjoyment, and given him a higher opinion of the manage* 
a clevare fellow," than the mere passing business affair of paying him Mg 


prietor of the former theatre and acting manager of the latter, 
took a great deal of notice of him, and occasionally gave the 
child a guinea to huy a rouking-horse or a cart, or some toy that 
struck his fancy. During the run of the iirst piece in which he 
played at Sadler's Wells, he produced his first serious effect, 
which, hut for the good fortune which seems to have attended 
him in such cases, might have prevented his subsequent ap- 
pearance on any stage. ^ He played a monkey, and had to 
accompany the clown (his father) throughout the piece. In 
one of the scenes, the clown used to lead him on by a chain 
attached to his waist, and with this chain he would swing him 
round and round, at arm's length, with the utmost velocity. 
One evening, when this feat was in the act of performance, the 
chain broke, and he was hurled a considerable distance into 
the pit, fortunately without sustaining the slightest injury; 
for he was flung by a miracle into the very arms^ of an old 
gentleman who was sitting gazing at the stage with intense 

Among the many persons who in this early stage of his career 
behaved with great kindness to him, were the famous rope- 
dancers, Mr, and Mrs. liedige, then called Le Petit Diable, * 
and La Belle Espagnole ; who often gave him a guinea to buy 
some childish luxury, which his father invariably took away 
and deposited in a box, with his name written outside, which 
he would lock very carefully, and then, giving the boy the key, 
say, " Mind, Joe, ven I die, dat is your vortune." Eventually 
he lost both the box and the fortune, as will hereafter appear. 

As he had now nearly four months vacant out of every twelve, 
the run of the Christmas pantomime at Drury Lane seldom 
exceeding a month, and Sadler's Wells not opening until Easter, 
he was sent for that period of the year to a boarding-school at 
Putney, kept by a Mr. .Ford, of whose kindness and goodness of 
heart to him on a later occasion of his life, he spoke, when an 
old man, with the deepest gratitude. He fell in here with 
many schoolfellows who afterwards became connected one way 
or another with dramatic pursuits, among whom was Mr. Henry 
Harris, of Covent Garden Theatre. We do not find that any 
of these schoolfellows afterwards became pantomime actors ; 
but recollecting the humour and vivacity of the boy, the wonder 
to us is, that they were not all clowns when they grew up. 

* Paulo KedigcS, " Le Petit Diable," made his first appearance at Sadler's 
Wells with Placide, the " French Voltigeur," under the Italianised name of 
Signer Placido, on Easter Monday, 1781, on the same night with young Joe. La 
Belle Espagnole, whomAngelo describes as "a very beautiful woman," made her 
first appearance at the same theatre, on April 1, 17s5 ; having, as the bills 
expressed it, " been celebrated at Paris ail the winter, for her very elegant and 
wonderful performances." She soon after became the wife of the " Little Devil." 
Paulo, the late clown, was their son, and might be almost said to have been born 
within the walls of that theatre. The manager's attentions to this beautiful 
Spaniard were the cause of much jealousy to Mrs. Wroughton, and some ludicrous 
Btoriee are still afloat. 


In the Christmas of 1782, he appeared in his second character* 
at Drury Lane, called " Harlequin Junior ; or, the Magic Cestus,' 
in which he represented a demon, sent by some opposing magi- 
cian to counteract the power of the harlequin. In this, as in his 
preceding part, he was fortunate enough to meet with great 
applause; and from this period his reputation was made, 
although it naturally increased with his years, strength, and 

In the following Easterf he repeated the monkey at Sadler's 
"Wells without the pit effect. As the piece was withdrawn at 
the end of a month, and he had nothing to do for the remainder 
of the season, he again repaired to Putney. 

In Christmas 1783, he once more appeared at Drury Lane, in 
a pantomime called "Hurly Burly." J In this piece he had to 
represent, not only the old part of the monkey, but that of a cat 
besides ; and in sustaining the latter character he met with an 
accident, his speedy recovery from which would almost induce 
one to believe that he had so completely identified himself with 
the character as to have eight additional chances for his life. The 
dress he wore was so clumsily contrived, that when it was sewn 
upon him he could not see before him ; consequently, as he was 
running about the stage, he fell down a trap-door, which had 
been left open to represent a well, and tumbled down a distance 
of forty feet, > thereby breaking his collar-bone, and inflicting 
several contusions upon his body. He was immediately conveyed 
home, and placed under the care of a surgeon, but he did not 
recover soon enough to appear any more that season at Drury 
Lane, although at Easter he performed at Sadler's Wells as 

* The pantomime of " Harlequin Junior ; or, the Magic Cestua," was per- 
formed for the first time, on Wednesday, January 7, 1784, not Christmas, 1782 ; 
and was highly successful, from the excellence of the characters, the beautiful 
scenery, and the new deceptions Grimaldi, as Clown, obtruding into a hot- 
house, became suddenly transformed into a fine large water-melon ; in another 
scene, changed into a goose, his affected airs in displaying his tail in the peacock 
style, set the house in roars of laughter. The change of the Bank of Paris into an 
air-balloon, was a trick that obtained a full plaudit. So great, in fact, was the 
attraction, it was not only frequently performed during the remainder of the 
season, 1783-4, but also in that of 1784-5, being revived on September 28, 1784, 
and repeated in lieu of a new pantomime, on December 27, in that year, and it 
ran its full complement of representations as a new piece. 

t We do not find that at Easter, 1784, any piece was withdrawn in which a 
monkey was likely to be introduced. The Sieur Scaglioni's troop of Dancing 
Dogs, and their sagacious manoeuvres, made up speedily for the losses of the 
previous season. The pantomime was entitled " The Enchanted Wood ; or, 

Larlequm s Vagaries ;" a dance called the " Fricassee ;" and the w; ole concluded 

ith the " Death and Revival of Harlequin," which " ran" the whole of the 


1 A pantomimical oho, entitled The Caldron," in which Gnmaldi played 

Clown, was produced at Drury-lane, September 27, 1785, performed a few nights, 

and withdrawn The pantomime of " Hurly Burly : or, the Fairv ol the Wells," 

' M p , r ?a UCed , f ? r 'K 6 . " r , st time > on December 26, m that year, and not at Christ- 

Swoewftd * ldl played " clod P at e," the Clown, in this piece : it was very 


In the summer of this year, he used to be allowed, ae a mark 
of high and special favour, to spend every alternate Sunday at 
the house of his mother's father, "who," says Grimaldi himself, 
" resided in Newton-street, Holborn, and was a carcase butcher, 
doing a prodigious business ; besides which, he kept the Blooms- 
bury slaughter-house, and, at the time of his death, had done 
so for more than sixty years." With this grandfather, "Joe" 
was a great favourite ; and as he was very much indulged and 
petted when he went to see him, he used to look forward to 
every visit with great anxiety. His father, upon his part, was 
most anxious that he should support the credit of the family 
upon these occasions, and, after great deliberation, and much 
consultation with tailors, the "little clown" was attired for one 
of these Sunday excursions in the following style. On his back 
he wore a green coat, embroidered with almost as many artificial 
flowers as his father had put in the garden at Lambeth ; beneath 
this there shone a satin waistcoat of dazzling whiteness; and 
beneath that again were a pair of green cloth breeches (the word 
existed in those days) richly embroidered. His legs were fitted 
into white silk stockings, and his feet into shoes with brilliant 
paste buckles, of which he also wore another resplendent pair at 
his knees : he had a laced shirt, cravat, and ruffles ; a cocked-hat 
upon his head ; a small watch set with diamonds theatrical, 
we_ suppose in his fob ; and a little cane in his hand, which he 
switched to and fro as our clowns may do now. 

Being thus thoroughly equipped for starting, he was taken in 
for his father's inspection : the old gentleman was pleased to 
signify his entire approbation with his appearance, and, after 
kissing him in the moment of his gratification, demanded the 
key of the " fortune-box." The key being got with some diffi- 
culty out of one of the pockets of the green smalls, the bottom of 
which might be somewhere near the buckles, the old gentleman 
took a guinea out of the box, and, putting it into the boy's 
pocket, said, " Dere now. you are a gentleman, and something 
more you have got a guinea in your pocket." The box having 
been carefully locked, and the key returned to the owner of the 
"fortune," off he started, receiving strict injunctions to be home 
by eight o'clock. The father would not allow anybody to attend 
him, on the ground that he was a gentleman, and consequently 
perfectly able to take care of himself ; so away he went, to walk 
all the way from Little Eussel-street, Drury-lane, to Newton- 
street, Holborn. 

The child's appearance in the street excited considerable 
curiosity, as the appearance of any other child, alone, in such a 
costume, might very probably have done ; but he was a public 
character besides, and the astonishment was proportionate. 
"Hollo!" qried one boy, "here's 'Little Joe!' " "Get along," 
said another, " it's the monkey." A third, thought it was the 
" bear dresaad for a dance*" and the fourth suggested "it might 


"be the cat going out to a party," while the more sedate passengers 
could not help laughing heartily, and saying how ridiculous it 
was to trust such a child in the streets alone. However, he 
walked on, with various singular grimaces, until he stopped to 
look at a female of miserable appearance, who was reclining on 
the pavement, and whose diseased and destitute aspect had 
already collected a crowd. The boy stopped, like others, and 
hearing her tale of distress, became so touched, that he thrust 
his hand into his pocket, and having at last found the bottom of 
it. pulled out his guinea, which was the only coin he had, and 
slipped it into her hand ; then away he walked again with a 
greater air than before. 

The sight of the embroidered coat, and breeches, and the 
paste buckles, and the satin waistcoat and cocked-hat, had 
astonished the crowd not a little in the outset ; but directly it 
was understood that the small owner of these articles had given 
the woman a guinea, a great number of people collected around 
him, and began shouting and staring by turns most earnestly. 
The boy, not at all abashed, headed the crowd, and walked on 
very deliberately, with a train a street or two long behind him, 
until he fortunately encountered a friend of his father's, who 
no sooner saw the concourse that attended him, than he took 
him in his arms and carried him, despite a few kicks and strug- 
gles, in all his brilliant attire, to his grandfather's housej where 
he spent the day very much to the satisfaction of all parties 

"When he got safely home at night, the father referred to his 
watch, and finding that he had returned home punctual to the 
appointed time, kissed him, extolled him for paying such strict 
attention to his instructions, examined his dress, discovered 
satisfactorily that no injury had been done to his clothes, and 
concluded by asking for the key of the " fortune-box," and the 
guinea. The boy, at first, quite forgot the morning adventure ; 
but, after rummaging his pockets for the guinea, and not find- 
ing it, he recollected what had occurred, and, falling upon the 
knees of the knee-smalls, confessed it all, and implored for- 

The father was puzzled ; he was always giving away money 
in charity himself, and he could scarcely reprimand the child 
for doing the same. He looked at him for some seconds with a 
perplexed countenance, and then, contenting himself with simply 
saying, " I'll beat you," sent him to bed. 

Among the eccentricities of the old gentleman, one certainly 
not his most amiable one was, that whatever he promised he 
performed ; and that when, as in this case, he promised to thrash 
the boy, he would very coolly let the matter stand over for 
months, but never forget it in the end. This was ingenious, 
inasmuch as it doubled, or trebled, or quadrupled the punish- 
ment, giving the unhappy little victim all the additional pain 


of anticipating it for a long time, with the certainty of enduring 
it in the end. Four or five months after this occurrence, and 
when the child had not given his father any new cause of 
offence, he suddenly called him to him one day, and communi- 
cated the intelligence that he was going to heat him forthwith. 
Hereupon the boy began to cry most piteously, and faltered 
forth the inquiry, "Oh! father, what for ?" " Remember tha 
guinea !" said the father. And he gave him a caning which he 
remembered to the last day of his life. 

The family consisted at this time of the father, mother, Joe, 
his only brother John Baptist, three or four female servants, 
and a man of colour who acted as footman, and was dignified 
with the appellation of "Black Sam." 

The father was extremely hospitable, and fond of company ; 
he rarely dined alone, and on certain gala days, of which 
Christmas-eve was one, had a very large party, upon which 
occasions his really splendid service of plate, together with vari- 
ous costly articles of bijouterie, were laid out for the admiration 
of the guests. Upon one Christmas-eve, when the dining-parlour 
was decorated and prepared with all due gorgeousness and 
splendour, the two boys, accompanied by Black Sam, stole into 
it, and began to pass various encomiums on its beautiful appear- 

" Ah !" said Sam, in reply to some remark of the brothers, 
" and when old Massa die, all dese fine things vill be yours." 

Both the boys were much struck with this remark, and espe- 
cially John, the younger, who, being extremely young, probably 
thought much less about death than his father, and accordingly 
exclaimed, without the least reserve or delicacy, that he should 
be exceedingly glad if all these fine things were his. 

Nothing more was said upon the subject. Black Sam went 
to his work, the boys commenced a game of play, and nobody 
thought any more of the matter except the father himself, who, 
passing the door of the room at the moment the remarks were 
made, distinctly heard them. He pondered over the matter for 
some days, and at length, with the view of ascertaining the 
dispositions of his two sons, formed a singular resolution, still 
connected with the topic ever upwards in his mind, and deter~ 
mined to feign himself dead. Me caused himself to be laid out 
in the drawing-room, covered with a sheet, and had the room 
darkened, the windows closed, and all the usual ceremonies 
which accompany death, performed. All this being done, and 
the servants duly instructed, the two boys were cautiously in- 
formed that their father had died suddenly, and were at once 
hurried into the room where he lay, in order that he might hear 
them give vent to their real feelings.* 

* A similar scene has been frequently represented on the stage. It is probable 
that the father derived the notion from some play in which he had acted, or 
which he had seen performed. 


When Joe was brought into the dark room on so short a notice, 
his sensations were rather complicated, but they speedily resolved 
themselves into a firm persuasion that his father was not dead, 
A variety of causes led him to this conclusion, among which the 
most prominent were, his having very recently seen his father in 
the best health ; and, besides several half-suppressed winks and 
blinks from Black Sam, his observing, by looking closely at the 
sheet, that his deceased parent still breathed. With very little 
hesitation the boy perceived what line of conduct he ought to adopt, 
and at once bursting into a roar of the most distracted grief, 
flung himself upon the floor, and rolled about in a seeming 
transport of anguish. 

John, not having seen so much of public life as his brother, 
was not so cunning, and perceiving in his father's death nothing 
but a relief from flogging and books (for both of which he had 
a great dislike), and the immediate possession of m all ^the plate 
in the dining room, skipped about the room, indulging in various 
snatches of song, and, snapping his fingers, declared that he was 
glad to hear it. 

" ! you cruel boy," said Joe, in a passion of tears, "hadn't 
you any love for your dear father ? Oh ! what would I give to 
see him alive again !" 

" Oh! never mind," replied the brother; "don't be such a fool 
as to cry ; we can have the cuckoo-clock all to ourselves now." 

This was more than the deceased could bear. He jumped 
from the bier, opened the shutters, threw off the sheet, and 
attacked his younger son most unmercifully; while Joe, not 
knowing what might be his own fate, ran and hid himself in 
the coal-cellar, where he was discovered some four hours after- 
wards, by Black Sam, fast asleep, who carried him to his father, 
who had been anxiously in search of him, and by whom he was 
received with every demonstration of affection, as the son who 
truly and sincerely loved him. 

From this period, up to the year 1788, he continued regularly 
employed upon the same salaries as he had originally receiver! 
both at Drury Lane and Sadler's Wells. 



1788 to 1794. 

T!i Father's real Death His Will, and failure of the Executor Generous con. 
duct of Grimaldi's Schoolmaster, and of Mr. Wroughton, the Comedian 
Kindness of Sheridan Grimaldi's industry and amusements Fly catching 
Expedition in search of the " Dartford Blues" Mrs. Jordan Adventure 
on Clapham Common : the piece of Tin His first love and its consequences. 

IT has been stated in several publications that Grrimaldi's father 
died in 1787. It would appear from several passages in the 
memoranda dictated by his son, that he expired on the 14th of 
March, 1788, of dropsy, in the seventy-eighth year* of his age, 
and that he was interred in the burial-ground attached to Ex 
mouth-street Chapel ; a spot of ground in which, if it bore any 
resemblance at that time to its present condition, he could have 
had very little room to walk about and meditate when alive. 
He left a will, by which he directed all his effects and jewels to 
be sold by public auction, and the proceeds to be added to his 
funded property, which exceeded 15,000^.; the whole of the gross 
amount, he directed should be divided equally between the two 
brothers as they respectively attained their majority. Mr. 
King,t to whom allusion has already been made, was appointed 


aged 72. ^ m ^ m 

by a too frequent repetition, perverting"the vein of his s'tory, was no mean 
authority as regarded the old players, most of whom are now 

Down among the dead men ! 

He used to assert that old Grimaldi died in Lambeth, at his apartments, up a 
court within a door or two of the Pheasant public-house in Stangate-street. 
Reference to the burial-register of St. Mary's, Lambeth, elicited nothing as to 
his interment there ; but on searching the register belonging to Northampton 
Chapel, in Exmouth-street, we found it there recorded "March 23, 1788, Mr. 
Joseph Grimaldi, from Lambeth, aged 75." It will be observed, there is a dif- 
ference of three years in the age, as stated in the daily papers of the time, and 
in the register or his burial. No stone, or other memorial, marks the spot where 
his ashes lie. 

The court in which Grimaldi died, in poverty, not wealth, was, till the last 
destruction of Astley's Amphitheatre, under the tenancy of Ducrow, called 
Theatre-court, or place ; but the fire consumed the greater part, and its site is 
now occupied by that portion of Batty's Amphitheatre which is in the Palace 

t The original Editor has been misinformed. We are sorry to have to record 
that Signor Grimaldi had nothing to bequeath to any one ; he made no will ; and 
i search at the Prerogative Office, Doctor's Commons, for the two years following 
his death, is evidence of this, no probate having issued thence. 



co-executor with a Mr. Joseph Hopwood, a lace manufacturer in 
Long-acre, at that time supposed to possess not only an excel- 
lent business, hut independent property to a considerable amount 
besides. Shortly after they entered upon their office, in conse- 
quence of Mr. Tung declining to act, the whole of the estate fell 
to the management of Mr. Hopwood, who, employing the whole 
of the brothers' capital in his trade, became a bankrupt within 
a year, fled from England, and was never heard of afterwards. 
By this unfortunate and unforeseen event, the brothers lost the 
whole of their fortune, and were thrown upon their own resources 
and exertions for the means of subsistence. 

It is very creditable to all parties, and while it speaks highly 
for the kind feeling of the friends of the widow, and her two 
sons, bears high testimony to their conduct and behaviour, that 
no sooner was the failure of the executor known than offers of 
assistance were heaped upon them from all quarters. Mr. Ford, 
the Putney schoolmaster, offered at once to receive Joseph into 
his school and to adopt him as his own son ; this offer being 
declined by his mother, Mr. Sheridan, who was then proprietor 
of Drury Lane Theatre, raised the boy's salary, unasked, to one 
pound per week, and permitted his mother, who was and had 
been from her infancy a dancer at that establishment, to accept 
a similar engagement at Sadler's Wells, which was, in fact, 
equivalent to a double salary, both theatres being open together 
for a considerable period of the year. 

At Sadler's Wells, where Joseph appeared as usual in 1788,* 
shortly after his father's death, they were not so liberal, nor was 
the aspect of things so pleasing, his salary of fifteen shillings 
a- week being very unceremoniously cut down to three, and his 
mother being politely informed, upon her remonstrating, that if 

* The season of 1788, at Sadler's Wells, was one of no common interest. On 
Whitsun Monday, May 12, in a musical piece, entitled " Saint Monday ; or, a 
Cure for a Scold," Mr. Braham, then Master Abrahams, made his first appear- 
ance. He is named in the bills of August 18, but appears soon after to have left 
Sadler's Wells, and on the 30th of the same month had a benefit at the Eoyalty 
Theatre, Well-street, near Goodman' s-flelds, as " Master Braham," when the 
celebrated tenor singer, Leoni, his master, announced that as the last time of his 
performing on the stage. Miss Shields, who appeared at Sadler's Wells in the 
same piece on Whitsun Monday, became towards the end of May, Mrs. Leffler. 
Two Frenchmen, named Duranie and Bois-Maispn, as pantomimists, eclipsed all 
their predecessors on that stage. Boyce, a distinguished engraver, was the 
Harlequin, and by those who remember him, he is eulogised as the most finished 
actor of the motley hero, either in his own day, or since. On the benefit night 
of Joseph Dortor, Clown to the rope, and Eicher, the rope dancer, Miss Eicher 
made her first appearance on two slack wires, passing through a hoop, with a 
pyramid of glasses on her head ; and Master Eicher performed on the tight rope, 
with a skipping rope. Joseph Dortor, among other almost incredible feats, 
drank a glass of wine backwards from the stage-floor, beating a drum at the 
same time. Lawrence, the father of Joe's friend, Bichard Lawrence, threw a 
summerset over twelve men's heads, and Paul Eedige", " The Little Devil," on 
October 1, threw a summerset over two men on horseback, the riders having 
each a lighted candle on his head. Dubois,- as Clown to the Pantomime, had no 
euperior in his time ; and the troop of Voltigeura were pre-emineinfi for their 
agility, skill, and drinfl. 


the alteration did not suit her, he was at perfect liberty to 
transfer his valuable services to any other house. Small as the 
pittance was, they could not afford to refuse it ; and at that 
salary he remained at Sadler's "Wells for three years, occasionally 
superintending the property-room, sometimes assisting in the 
carpenter's, and sometimes in the painter's, and, in fact, lending 
a hand wherever it was most needed. 

When the defalcation of the executor took place, the family 
were compelled to give up their comfortable establishment, and 
to seek for lodgings of an inferior description. His mother 
knowing a Mr. and Mrs. Bailey, who then resided in Great 
Wild-street, and who let lodgings, applied to them, and there 
they lived, in three rooms on the first floor, for several years. 
The brother could not be prevailed upon to accept any regular 
engagement, for he thought and dreamt of nothing but going to 
sea, and evinced the utmost detestation of the stage. Sometimes, 
when boys were wanted in the play at Drury Lane, he was sent 
for, and attended, for which he received a shilling per night ; 
but so great was his unwillingness and evident dissatisfaction 
on such occasions, that Mr. Wroughton, the comedian, who, by 
purchasing the property of Mr. King, became about this period* 
proprietor of Sadler's Wells, stepped forward in the boy's behalf, 
and obtained for him a situation on board an East-Indiaman, 
which then lay. in the river, and was about to sail almost imme- 

John was delighted when the prospect of realizing his ardent 
wishes opened upon him so suddenly ; but his raptures were 
diminished by the discovery that an outfit was indispensable, 
and that it would cost upwards of fifty pounds : a sum which, 
it is scarcely necessary to say, his friends, in their reduced posi- 
tion, could not command. But the same kind-hearted gentleman 
removed this obstacle, and with a generosity and readiness 
which enhanced the value of the gift an hundredfold, advanced, 
without security or obligation, the whole sum required, merely 
saying, " Mind, John, when you come to be a captain you must 
pay it me back again." 

There is no diificulty in providing the necessaries for a voyage 
to any part of the world when you have provided the first and 
most important money. In two days, John took his leave of 
his mother and brother, and with his outfit, or kit, was safely 
deposited on board the vessel in which a berth had been pro- 
cured for him ; but the boy, who was of a rash, hasty, and in- 
considerate temper, finding, on going on board, that a delay of 
ten days would take place before the ship sailed, and that a 
king's ship, which lay near her, was just then preparing to 
drop down to Gravesend with the tide, actually swam from his 

* Further inquiries enable us to prove that King transferred his right in 
Sadler's Wells to Messrs. Wroughton and Serjeant, at the close of the year 17& 


own ship to the other, entered himself as a seaman or cabin-boy 
on board the latter in some feigned name, what it was his 
friends never heard, and so sailed immediately, leaving every 
article of his outfit, down to the commonest necessary of wearing 
apparel, on board the East-Indiaman, on the books of which he 
had been entered through the kindness of Mr. Wroughton. He 
disappeared in 1789, and he was not heard of, or from, or seen, 
for fourteen years afterwards. 

At this period of his life, Joseph was far from idle ; he had to 
walk from Drury Lane to Sadler's "Wells every morning to 
attend rehearsals, which then began at ten o'clock ; to be back 
at Drury Lane to dinner by two, or go without it ; to be back 
again at Sadler's "Wells in the evening, in time for the com- 
mencement of the performances at six o'clock ; to go through 
uninterrupted labour from that time until eleven o'clock, or 
later ; and then to walk home again, repeatedly after having 
changed his dress twenty times in the course of the night. 

Occasionally, when the performances at Sadler's Wells were 
prolonged so that the curtain fell very nearly at the same time 
as the concluding piece at Drury Lane began, he was so pressed 
for time as to be compelled to dart out of the former theatre at 
his utmost speed, and never to stop until he reached his dressing- 
room at the latter. That he could use his legs to pretty good advan- 
tage at this period of his life, two anecdotes will sufficiently show. 

On one occasion, when by unforeseen circumstances he was 
detained at Sadler's Wells beyond the usual time, he and Mr. 
Fairbrother (the father of the well-known theatrical printer), 
who, like himself, was engaged at both theatres, and had agreed 
to accompany him that evening, started hand-in-hand from 
Sadler's Wells theatre, and ran to the stage-door of Drury Lane 
in eight minutes by the stop watches which they carried. 
Grimaldi adds, that this was considered a great feat at the time ; 
and we should think it was. 

Another night, during the time when the Drury Lane com- 
pany were playing at the Italian Opera-house in the Haymarket, 
in consequence of the old theatre being pulled down and a new- 
one built, Mr. Fairbrother and himself, again put to their 
utmost speed by lack of time, ran from Sadler's Wells to the 
Opera-house in fourteen minutes, meeting with no other inter- 
ruption ^ by the way than one which occurred at the corner of 
Lincoln's Inn Fields, where they unfortunately ran against and 
overturned an infirm old lady, without having time enough to 
pick her up again. After Grimaldi's business at the Opera- 
house was over, (he had merely to walk in the procession in 
Cymon,) he ran back alone to Sadler's Wells in thirteen minutes, 
and arrived just in time to dress for Clown in the concluding 

t For some years his life went on quietly enough, possessing very 
little of anecdote or interest beyond his steady and certain rise 


in his profession and in the estimation of the public, which, 
although very important to him from the money ne afterwards 
gained by it, and to the public from the amusement which his 
peculiar excellence yielded them for so many years, offers no 
material for our present purpose. This gradual progress in the 
good opinion of the town exercised a material influence on his 
receipts ; for, in 1794, his salary at Drury Lane was trebled, 
while his salary at Sadler's Wells had risen from three shillings 
per week to four pounds. He lodged in Great Wild-street with 
his mother all this time: their landlord had died, and the 
widow's daughter, from accompanying Mrs. Grimaldi*to Sadler's 
Wells theatre, had formed an acquaintance with, and married 
Mr. Robert Fairbrother, of that establishment, and Drury Lane, 
upon which Mrs. Bailey, the widow, took Mr. Fairbrother into 
partnership as a furrier, in which pursuit, by industry and per- 
severance, ne became eminently successful. 

This circumstance would be scarcely worth mentioning, but 
that it shows the industry and perseverance of Grimaldi, and 
the ease with which, by the exercise of those qualities, a very 
young person may overcome all the disadvantages and tempta- 
tions incidental to the most precarious walk of a precarious 
pursuit, and become a useful and respectable member of society. 
He earned many a guinea from Mr. Fairbrother by working at 
his trade, and availing himself of his instruction in his leisure 
hours ; and when he could do nothing in that way, he would go 
to Newton- street, and assist his uncle and cousin, the carcase 
butchers, for nothing ; such was his unconquerable antipathy to 
being idle. He does not inform us, whether it required a prac- 
tical knowledge of trade, to display that skill and address with 
which, in his subsequent prosperity, he would diminish the 
joints of his customers as a baker, or increase the weight of their 
meat as a butcher, but we hope, for the credit of trade, that his 
morals in this respect were wholly imaginary. 

These were his moments of occupation, but he contrived to 
find moments of amusement besides, which were devoted to 
the breeding of pigeons, and collecting of insects, which latter 
amusement he pursued with such success, as to form a cabinet 
containing no fewer than 4000 specimens of flies, " collected," he 
says, " at the expense of a great deal of time, a great deal of 
money, and a great deal of vast and actual labour," for all of 
which, no doubt, the entomologist will deem him sufficiently 
rewarded. He appears in old age to have entertained a peculiar 
relish for the recollection of these pursuits, and calls to mind a 
part of Surrey where there was a very famous fly, and a part of 
Kent where there was another famous fly ; one of these was 
called the Camberwell Beauty (which he adds was very ugly), 
and another, the Dartford Blue, by which Dartford Blue he 
seems to have set great store ; and which were pursued and 
* Mrs. Brooker. 


caught in the manner following, in June, 1794, when they regu- 
larly make their first appearance for the season. 

Being engaged nightly at Sadler's Wells, he was obliged to 
wait till he had finished his business upon the stage : then he 
returned home, had supper, and shortly after midnight started 
off" to walk to Dartford, fifteen miles from town. Here he 
arrived about five o'clock in the morning, and calling upon a 
friend of the name of Brooks, who lived in the neighbourhood, 
and who was already stirring, he rested, breakfasted, and sallied 
forth into the fields. His search was not very profitable, however, 
for after some hours he only succeeded in bagging, or bottling, one 
" Dartford Blue," with which he returned to his friend perfectly 
satisfied. At one o'clock he bade his friend good by, walked 
back to town, reached London by five, washed, took tea, and 
hurried to Sadler's Wells. No time was to be lost the fact of 
the appearance of the "Dartford Blues" having been thoroughly 
established in securing more specimens ; so on the same night, 
directly the pantomime was over, and supper over, too, oft he 
walked down to Dartford again, found the friend up again, 
took a hasty breakfast again, and resumed his search again. 
Meeting with better sport, and capturing no fewer than four 
dozen Dartford Blues, he hurried back to the friend's ; set them 
an important process, which consists in placing the insects in 
the position in which their natural beauty can be best displayed 
started off with the Dartford Blues in his pocket for London 
once more, reached home by four o'clock in the afternoon, 
washed, and took a hasty meal, and then went to the theatre for 
the evening's performance. 

As not half the necessary number of Blues had been taken, 
he had decided upon another visit to Dartford that same night, 
and was consequently much pleased to find that, from some un- 
foreseen circumstance, the pantomime was to be played first. 
By this means he was enabled to leave London at nine o'clock, 
to reach Dartford at one, to find a bed and supper ready, to 
meet a kind reception from his friend, and finally to turn into 
bed, a little tired with the two days' exertions. The next day was 
Sunday, so that he could indulge himself without being obliged 
to return to town, and in the morning he caught more Hies than 
he wanted ; so the rest of the day was devoted to quiet sociality. 
He went to bed at ten o'clock, rose early next morning, walked 
comfortably to town, and at noon was perfect in his part, at the 
rehearsal on the stage at Drury Lane theatre. 

It is probable that by such means as these, united to tem- 
perance and sobriety, Grimaldi acquired many important bodily 
requisites for the perfection which he afterwards attained. But 
his love of entomology, or exercise, was not the only induce- 
ment in the case of the Dartford Blues ; he had, he says, another 
strong motive, and this was, the having promised a little collec- 
tion of insects to " one of the most charming women of her 


age," the lamented Mrs. Jordan, at that time a member of the 
Drury Lane company. 

Upon one occasion he had held under his arm, during a morn- 
ing rehearsal, a box containing some specimens of Hies : Mrs. 
Jordan was much interested to know what could possibly be in 
the box that Grimaldi carried about with him with so much 
care, and would not lose sight of for an instant, and in reply to 
her inquiry whether it contained anything pretty, he replied by 
exhibiting the Hies. 

He does not say whether these particular flies, which Mrs. 
Jordan admired, were Dartford Blues, or not ; but he gives us 
to understand, that his skill in preserving and arranging in- 
sects was really very great ; that all this trouble and fatigue 
were undertaken in a spirit of respectful gallantry to the most 
winning person of her time ; and that, having requested per- 
mission previously, he presented two frames of insects to Mrs. 
Jordan, on the first day of the new season, and immediately 
after she had finished the rehearsal of Rosalind in " As you like 
it;" that Mrs. Jordan was delighted, that he was ^ at least 
equally so, that she took the frames away in her carriage, and 
Warmed his heart by telling him that his Royal Highness the 
Duke of Clarence considered the flies equal, if not superior, to 
any of the kind he had ever seen. 

His only other companion in these trips, besides his Dartford 
friend, was Robert Gomery, or " friend- Bob," as he was called 
by his intimates, at that time an actor at Sadler's Wells,* and 
for many years afterwards a public favourite at the various 
minor theatres of the metropolis ; who is now, or was lately, 
enjoying a handsome independence at Bath. With this friend 
he had a little adventure, which it was his habit to relate with 
great glee. 

One day, he had been fly-hunting with his friend, from early 
morning until night, thinking of nothing but flies, until at 
length their thoughts naturally turning to something more sub- 
stantial, they halted for refreshment. 

" Bob," said Grimaldi, " I am very hungry." 

" So am I," said Bob. 

" There is a public-house," said Grimaldi. 

" It is just tne very thing," observed the other. 

It was a very neat public-house, and would have answered 
the purpose admirably, but Grimaldi having no money, and 
very much doubting whether his friend had either, did not 
respond to the sentiment quite so cordially as he might have 

" We had better go in," saiii the friend ; " it is getting late 
you pay." 

* " Friend Bob" was not employed at Sadler's Wells till three years later than 
1794, when he personated, on May 29, 1797. or of the Spahis in Tom Dibdin'B 
" Sadak and Kalasrade." 


" JS T o, no ! you." 

" I would in a minute," said his friend, " but I have not got 
any money." 

Grimalai thrust his hand into his right pocket with one of his 
queerest faces, then into his left, then into his coat pockets, then 
into his waistcoat, and finally took off his hat and looked into 
that ; but there was no money anywhere. 

They still walked on towards the public-house, meditating 
with rueful countenances, when Grimaldi spying something 
lying at the foot of a tree, picked it up, and suddenly exclaimed, 
with a variety of winks and nods, " Here's a sixpence." 

The hungry friend's eyes brightened, but they quickly re- 
sumed their gloomy expression as he rejoined, " It's a piece of 
tin I" 

Grimaldi winked again, rubbed the sixpence or the piece of 
tin very hard, and declared, putting it between his teeth by 
way of test, that it was as good a sixpence as he would wish to 

" I don't think it," said the friend, shaking his head. 

" I'll tell you what," said Grimaldi, " we'll go to the public- 
house, and ask the landlord whether it's a good one, or not. 
They always know." 

To this the friend assented, and they hurried on, disputing all 
the way whether it was really a sixpence, or not ; a discovery 
which could not be made at that time, when the currency was 
defaced and worn nearly plain, with the ease with which it 
could be made at present. 

The publican, a fat, jolly fellow, was standing at his door, 
talking to a friend, and the house looked so uncommonly com- 
fortable^ that Gomery whispered as they approached, that 
perhaps it might be best to have some bread and cheese first, 
and ask about the sixpence afterwards. 

Grimaldi nodded his entire assent, and they went in and 
ordered some bread and cheese, and beer. Having taken the 
edge off their ^hunger, they tossed up a farthing which Grimaldi 
happened to find in the corner of some theretofore undiscovered 
pocket, to determine who should present the " sixpence." The 
chance falling on himself, he walked up to the bar, and with a 
very lofty air, and laying the questionable metal down with a 
dignity quite his own, requested the landlord to take the bill 
out of that. 

" Just right, sir," said the landlord, looking at the strange 
face that his customer assumed, and not at the sixpence. 

" It's right, sir, is it r" asked Grimaldi, sternly. 

"Quite," answered the landlord; "thank ye, gentlemen. 5 * 
And with this he slipped the whatever it was into his pocket. 

Gomery looked at Grimaldi, and Grimaldi, with a look and 
air which baffle all description, walked out of the house, followed 
by his friend. 



" I never knew anything so lucky/' he said, as they walked 
home to supper "it was quite a Providence that sixpence." 

" A piece of tin, you mean," said Gromery. 

Which of the two it was, is uncertain, but Grimaldi often 
patronised the same house afterwards, and as he never heard 
anything more about the matter, he felt quite convinced that it 
was a real good sixpence. 

In the early part of the year 1794, they quitted their lodgings 
in Great Wild-street, and took a six-roomed house, in Penton- 
place, Pentonville, with a garden attached ; a part of this they 
let off to a Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, who then belonged to Sadler's 
Wells ; and in this manner they lived or three years, during 
the whole of which period his salaries steadily rose in amount, 
and he began to consider himself quite independent. 

At Easter,* Sadler's Wells opened as usual, and making a 
great hit in a new part, his fame rapidly increased. At this 
time he found a new acquaintance, which exercised a material 
influence upon his comfort and happiness for many years. The 
intimacy commenced thus : 

When there was a rehearsal at Sadler's Wells, his mother, 
who was engaged there as well as himself, was in the habit of 

* On Easter Monday, 1796, Sadler's "Wells opened with Tom Dibdin's Serio- 
Comic Entertainment called " The Talisman of Orosmanes ; or, Harlequin made 
Happy." Grimaldi enacted the part of the Hag Morad ; the principal characters 
in the action being King, Dibdin, the author, his second season ; Dubois, Master 
Grimaldi, as he was then designated in the bills, and Mrs. Wybrow. Having 
in such company made a hit in this part, his fame rapidly increased ; and in 
the new Harlequinade Burletta, entitled "Venus's Girdle; or, the World 
Bewitched," produced on the 1st of August in that year, Master Grimaldi 
played the part of the Old Woman; his mother, Mrs. Brooker, Lady Simpleton. 
These entertainments ran through the whole season. 

It may not be out of place to notice that Philip Astley this year announced 
as attractions at his Amphitheatre of Arts, Westminster Bridge, " The most 
splendid Variety of Novel Amusements ever produced, and which have been 
composed and arranged by the following celebrated persons, viz. 

" Mons. Mercerot, principal Pastoral Dancer, Ballet Master, and Pantomime 

" Mons. Laurent, Performer of Action, Pierrot, and Pantomime Composer. 

" Mr. West, Ballet Master, principal Buffo Dancer, Clown, and Pantomime 

" Mr. Lassells Williamson, Ballet Master, principal Comic Dancer, Harlequin, 
and Pantomime Composer. The above are the only Pupils of the late cele- 
brated Signor Grimaldi. 

The bills added, "Messrs. Astleys most respectfully beg leave to remark, 
that there never was at any Public Place of Entertainment so many Ballet 
Masters, Pantomime Composers, &c., ensaged at one and the same time, pos- 
sessing abilities equal to the above performers ; their exertions joined to those of 
Messrs. Astleys, must enable them to give a greater variety than any other 
Public Place of Summer Amusement." 

Williamson was not only the pupil of Signor Grimaldi, but was also his son- 
in-law, having married Joe's sister, who was announced with him in the Sadler's 
Wells bills in 1781, as Miss Grimaldi; she was engaged with her husband as 
Mrs. Williamson at Astley's, and appears among the Wizards and Witches, in 
the Dramatis Personse of the Grand Comic Pantomime, called "The Ma- 
gician of the Rocks ; or, Harlequin in London," produced there on Whitsun 
Monday. " Clown, Mr. West, after the manner of his old Master, Grimaldi." 


remaining at the theatre all day, taking her meals in her dress- 
ing-room, and occupying herself with needle-work. This she 
had done to avoid the long walk in the middle of the day from 
Sadler's Wells to Great Wild-street, and back again almost 
directly. It became a habit ; and when they had removed to 
Penton-place, and consequently were so much nearer the theatre 
that it was no longer necessary, it still continued. Mr. Hughes, 
who had now become principal proprietor of the theatre, and 
who lived in the l^use attached to it, had several children, the 
eldest of whom was Miss Maria Hughes, a young lady of con- 
siderable accomplishments, who had always been much attached 
to Grimaldi's mother, and who embraced every _ opportunity of 
being in her society. Knowing the hours at which she was in 
the dressing-room during the day, Miss Hughes was in the 
habit of taking her work, and sitting with her from three or 
four o'clock until six, when the other female performers begin- 
ning to arrive, she retired. Grimaldi was generally at the 
theatre between four and five, always taking tea with his mother 
at the last-named hour, and sitting with her until the arrival of 
the ladies broke up the little party. In this way an intimacy 
arose between Miss Hughes and himself, which ultimately 
ripened into feelings of a warmer nature. 

The day after he made his great hit in the new piece, he went 
as usual to tea in the dressing-room, where Mrs. Lewis, their 
lodger, who was the wardrobe-keeper of the theatre, happening 
to be present, overwhelmed him with complim'ents on his great 
success. Miss Hughes was there too, but she said nothing for a 
long time, and Grimaldi, who would rather have heard her 
speak for a minute than Mrs. Lewis for an hour, listened as 
patiently as he could to the encomiums which the good woman 
lavished upon him. At length she stopped, as the best talkers 
must now and then, to take breath, and then Miss Hughes, 
looking up, said, with some hesitation, that she thought Mr. 
Grimaldi had played the part uncommonly well ; so well that she 
was certain there was no one who could have done it at all like him. 

Now, before he went into the room, he had turned the matter 
over in his mind, and had come to the conclusion that if Mis? 
Hughes praised his acting he would reply by some neatly turned 
compliment to her, which might afford some hint of the state of 
his feelings ; and with this view he had considered of a good 
many very smart ones, but somehow or other, the young lady 
no sooner opened her lips in speech, than Grimaldi opened his in 
admiration, and out new all the compliments in empty breath, 
without producing the slightest sound. He turned very red, 
looked very funny, and felt very foolish. At length he made an 
awkward bow, and turned to leave the room. 

It was six o'clock, and the lady performers just then came in. 
As he was always somewhat of a favourite among them, a few of 
the more volatile and giddy for there are a few such, in almost 


all companies, theatrical or otherwise, began first to praise hia 
acting 1 , and then to rally him upon another subject. 

" Now Joe has become such a favourite," said one, " he ought 
to look out for a sweetheart." 

Here Joe just glanced at Miss Hughes, and turned a deeper 
red than ever. 

" Certainly he ought," said another. " Will any of ns do 
Joe ?" 

Upon this Joe exhibited fresh symptoms of being uncomfort- 
able, which were hailed by a general burst of laughter. 

"I'll tell you what, ladies," said Mrs. Lewis, "if I'm not 
greatly mistaken, Joe has got a sweetheart already." 

Another lady said, that to her certain knowledge he had two, 
and another that he had three, and so on: he standing: amon? 
them the whole time, with his eyes fixed upon the ground, vexed 
to death to think that Miss Hughes should hear these libels, 
and frightened out of his wits lest she should be disposed to 
believe them. 

At length he made his escape, and being induced, by the con- 
versation which had just passed, to ponder upon the matter, he 
was soon led to the conclusion that the fair daughter of Mr. 
Hughes had made an impression on his heart, and that, unless 
he could marry her, he would marry nobody, and must be for 
ever miserable, with other like deductions which young men are 
in the habit of making from similar premises. The discovery 
was not unattended by many misgivings. The great difference 
of station, then existing between them, appeared to interpose an 
almost insurmountable obstacle in the way of their marriage ; 
and, further, he had no reason to suppose that the young lady 
entertained for him any other sentiments than those with which 
she might be naturally disposed to regard the son of a friend 
whom she had known so long. These considerations rendered 
him as unhappy as the most passionate lover could desire to be 
he ate little, drank little, slept less, lost his spirits ; and, in 
short, exhibited a great variety of symptoms sufficiently dan- 
gerous in any case, but particularly so in one, where the patient 
had mainly to depend upon the preservation of his powers of 
fun and comicality for a distant chance of the fulfilment of hia 



1794 to 1797. 

Grimaldi falls in love His success He meets with an accident, which brings 
the Reader acquainted with that invaluable specific, " Grimaldi's Embro- 
cation" He rises gradually in his Profession The Pentonville Gang of 

IT is scarcely to be supposed that such, a sudden and complete 
change in the merry genius of the theatre could escape the 
observation of those around him, far less of his mother, who, as 
he had been her constant and affectionate companion, observed 
him with anxious solicitude. Various hints and soundings, and 
indirect inquiries, were the consequence, but they were far from 
eliciting the truth ; he was ill, fatigued by constant exertion in 
difficult parts, and that was all that his friends could gather 
from him. 

There was another circumstance which puzzled the lady 
mother more than all. This was, that he never visited the 
dressing-room, whither he had been accustomed regularly tc 
resort ; and that he either took tea before he went to the theatre, 
or not at all. The truth was, that he was quite unable to 
endure the facetiousness of the ladies in the presence of Miss 
Hughes ; the more so, because he fancied that his annoyance 
seemed to afford that young lady considerable amusement ; and 
rather than find this the case, he determined to relinquish the 
pleasure of her society. 

So matters stood for some weeks, when one night, having 
occasion during the performances to repair to the wardrobe for 
some _ articles of dress, he hastily entered, and instead of dis- 
covering his old friend, Mrs. Lewis, found himself confronted 
and alone with Mr. Hughes's daughter. 

In these cases, if the lady exhibit emotion, the gentleman 
gains courage ; but Miss Hughes exhibited no emotion, merely 

" Why, Joe, I have not seen you for a fortnight ; where have 
you been hiding ! How is it that I never see you at tea now ?" 
The tone of kindness in which this was said, somewhat re- 
assured the lover, so he made an effort to speak, and got as far 
as, " I'm not well." 


" Not well !" said the young lady. And she said it so kindly 
that all poor Joe's emotion returned ; and being really ill ana 
weak, ana very sensitive withal, he made an eifort or two to 
look cheerful, and burst into tears. 

The young lady looked at him for a moment or two quite 
surprised, and then said, in a tone of earnest commiseration, 
"I see that you are not well, and that you are very much 
changed : what is the matter with you ? Pray tell me." 

At this inquiry, the young man, who seems to have inherited 
all the sensitiveness of his father's character without its worst 
points, threw himself into a chair, and cried like a child, vainly 
endeavouring to stammer out a few words, which were wholly 
unintelligible. Miss Hughes gently endeavoured to soothe him, 
and at that moment, Mrs. Lewis, suddenly entering the room, 
surprised them in this very sentimental situation ; upon which 
Grimaldi, thinking he must have made himself very ridiculous, 
jumped up and ran away. 

Mrs. Lewis being older in years, and in such matters too, than 
either Miss Hughes or her devoted admirer, kept her own 
counsel, thought over what she had seen, and discreetly pre- 
sented herself before Grimaldi next day, when, after a sleepless 
night, he was sauntering moodily about the garden, aggravating- 
all the doubts, and diminishing all the hopes that involved 
themselves with the object nearest his heart. 

" Dear me, Joe !" exclaimed the old lady, " how wretched you 
do look 1 Why, what is the matter ? " 

He tried an excuse or two, but reposing great trust in the 
sagacity and sincerity of his questioner, and sadly wanting a 
confidante, he first solemnly bound her to secrecy, and then told 
his tale. Mrs. Lewis at once took upon herself the office of a 
go-between ; undertook to sound Miss Hughes without delay ; 
and counselled Grimaldi to prepare a letter containing a full 
statement of his feelings, which, if the conversation between 
herself and Miss Hughes on that very evening were propitious, 
should be delivered on the following. 

Accordingly, he devoted all his leisure time that day to the 
composition of various epistles, and the spoiling of many sheets 
of paper, with the view to setting down his feelings in the very 
best and appropriate terms he could po'ssibly employ. One com- 
plete letter was finished at last, although even that was not half 
powerful enough ; and going to the theatre, and carefully avoid- 
ing the old dressing-room, he went through his part with 
greater eclat than before. Having hastily changed his dress, he 
hurried to Mrs. Lewis's room, where that good lady at once 
detailed all the circumstances that had occurred since the morn- 
ing, which she thought conclusive, but which the lover feared 
were not. 

It seems that Mrs. Lewis had embraced the first opportunity 
of being left alone with Miss Hughes to return to the old sub- 


ject of Joe's looking very ill ; to which Miss Hughes replied, 
that he certainly did, and said it, too, according to the matured 
opinion of Mrs. "Lewis, as if she had been longing to introduce 
the subject without exactly knowing how. 

" What can be the matter with him ?" said Miss Hughes. 

" I have found it out, Miss," said Mrs. Lewis ; " Joe is in 

" In love ! " said Miss Hughes. 

" Over head and ears," replied Mrs. Lewis ; " I never saw any 
poor dear young man in such a state." 

"Who is the lady?" asked Miss Hughes, inspecting some 
object that lay near her with every appearance of unconcern. 

" That's a secret," said Mrs. Lewis ; " I know her name ; she 
does not know he is in love with her yet ; but I am going to give 
her a letter to-morrow night, telling her all about it." 

" I should like to know her name," said Miss Hughes. 

"Why, "returned Mrs. Lewis, "you see I promised Joe not 
to tell ; but as you are so very anxious to know, I can let you 
into the secret without breaking my word : you shall see the 
direction of the letter." 

Miss Hughes was quite delighted with the idea, and left the 
room, after making an appointment for the ensuing evening for 
that purpose. 

Such was Mrs. Lewis's tale in brief; after hearing which, 
Gbrimaldi, who, not being so well acquainted with the subject, 
was not so sanguine, went home to bed, but not to sleep : his 
thoughts wavering between his friend's communication, and the 
love-letter, of which he could not help thinking that he could 
still polish up a sentence or two with considerable advantage. 

The next morning was one of great agitation, and when Mrs. 
Lewis posted off to the theatre with the important epistle in her 
pocket, the lover fell into such a tremor of anxiety and suspense, 
that he was quite unconscious how the day passed : he could 
stay away from the theatre no longer than five o'clock, at which 
time he hurried down to ascertain the fate of his letter. 

" I have not been able to give it yet," said Mrs. Lewis, softly, 
" but do you just go to the dressing-room ; she is there : only 
look at her, and guess whether she cares for you or not." 

He went, and saw Miss Hughes looking very pale, with traces 
of tears on her face. Six o'clock soon came, and the young lady t 
hurrying to the room of the confidante, eagerly inquired whether 
she had got Joe's letter. 

" I have," said Mrs. Lewis, looking very sly. 

" Oh ! pray let me see it," said Miss Hughes : "I am so 
anxious to know who the lady is, and so desirous that Joe should 
be happy." 

" Why, upon my word," said Mrs. Lewis, " I think I should 
be doing wrong if I showed it to you, unless Joe said I might." 
" Wrong !" echoed the young lady ; " oh ! if you only knew 


how much I have suffered since last night !" Here she paused 
for some moments, and added, with some violence of tone and 
manner, that if that suspense lasted much longer, she should go 

"Hey-day! Miss Maria," exclaimed Mrs. Lewis, "mad! 
Why, surely you cannot have been so imprudent as to have 
formed an attachment to Joe yourself? But you shall see the 
letter, as you wish it ; there is only one thing you must promise, 
and that is, to plead Joe's cause with the lady herself." 

Miss Hughes hesitated, faltered, and at length said, she would 

At this point of the discourse, Mrs. Lewis produced the la- 
boured composition, and placed it in her hand. 

Miss Hughes raised the letter, glanced at the direction, saw 
her own name written as plainly as the nervous fingers of its 
agitated writer would permit, let it fall to the ground, and sunk 
into the arms of Mrs. Lewis. 

While this scene was acting in a private room, Grimaldi was 
acting upon the public stage ; and conscious that his hopes de- 
pended upon his exertions, he did not suffer his anxieties, great 
as they were, to interfere with his performance. Towards the 
conclusion of the first piece he heard somebody enter Mr. 
Hughes' s box and there sat the object of all his anxiety. 

" She has got the letter," thought the trembling actor ; " she 
must have decided by this time." 

He would have given all he possessed to have known what 
had passed, when the business of the stage calling him to the 
front, exactly facing the box in which she sat, their eyes met, 
and she nodded and smiled. This was not the first time that 
Miss Hughes had nodded and smiled to Joseph Grimaldi, but 
it threw him into a state of confusion and agitation which at 
once deprived him of all consciousness of what he was about. 
He never heard that he did not finish the scene in which he was 
engaged at the moment, and he always supposed, in consequence, 
that he did so : but how, or in what manner, he never could 
imagine, not having the slightest recollection of anything that 

It is singular enough that throughout the whole of Ohimaldi's 
existence, which was a chequered one enough, even at those 
years when other children are kept in the cradle or the nursery, 
there always seemed some odd connexion between his good and 
bad fortune ; no great pleasure appeared to come to him un- 
accompanied by some accident or mischance : he mentions the 
fact more than once, and lays great stress upon it. 

On this very night, a heavy platform, on which ten men were 
standing, broke down, and fell upon him as he stood underneath ; 
a severe contusion of the shoulder was the consequence, and he 
was carried home immediately. Remedies were applied without 
loss of time, but he suffere^ intense pain all night ; it gradually 



abated towards morning, in consequence of the inestimable 
virtues of a certain embrocation, which he always kept ready in 
case of such accidents, and which was prepared from a recipe 
left him by his father, which, having performed a great many 
cures, he afterwards gave to one Mr. Chamberlaine, a surgeon 
of Clerkenwell, who christened it, in acknowledgment, " Gri- 
maldi's Embrocation," and used it in his general practice some 
years with perfect success. Before he was carried from the 
theatre, however, he had had the presence of mind to beg 
Mrs. Lewis to be called to him, and to request her to com- 
municate the nature of the accident to Miss Hughes (who 
had quitted the box before it occurred) as cautiously as she 
could. This, Mrs. Lewis, who appears to have been admirably 
qualified for the task ^ in which she was engaged, and to pos- 
sess quite a diplomatic relish for negotiation, undertook and 

There is no need to lengthen this part of his history, which, 
however interesting, and most honourably so, to the old man 
himself, who in the last days of his life looked back with undi- 
minished interest and affection to the early time when he first 
became acquainted with the excellence of a lady, to whom he 
was tenderly attached, and whose affection he never forgot or 
trifled with, would possess but few attractions for the general 
reader. The main result is quickly told : he was lying on a sofa 
next day, with his arm in a sling, when Miss Hughes visited 
him, and did not affect to disguise her solicitude for his recovery ; 
and, in short, by returning his affection, made him the happiest 
man, or rather boy (for he was not yet quite sixteen), in the 

There was only one thing that damped his joy, and this was, 
Miss Hughes's firm and steadfast refusal to continue any corre- 
spondence or communication with him unknown to her parents. 
Nor is it unnatural that this announcement should have occa- 
sioned him some uneasiness, when their relative situations in 
life are taken into consideration ; Mr. Hughes being a man of 
considerable property, and Grimaldi entirely dependent on his 
own exertions for support. 

He made use of every persuasion in his power to induce th* 
young lady to alter her determination ; he failed to effect any- 
thing beyond the compromise, that for the present she would 
only mention their attachment to her mother, upon whose kind- 
ness and secrecy she was certain she could rely. This was done, 
and Mrs. Hughes, finding that her daughter's happiness de- 
pended on her decision, offered no opposition, merely, remarking 
that their extreme youth forbade all idea of marriage at that 
time. Three years elapsed before Mr. Hughes was made ac- 
quainted with the secret. 

After this, his time passed away happily enough ; he saw 
Miss Hughes every evening in his mother's presence, and every 


Sunday she spent with them. All this time his reputation was 
rapidly increasing ; almost every new part he played rendered 
him a greater favourite than before, and altogether his lot in 
life was a cheerful and contented one. 

At this period, the only inhabitants of the house in Penton- 
place were Grimaldi and his mother, and Mrs. Lewis, of whom 
honourable mention has been so often made in the present 
chapter, together with her husband ; there was no servant in the 
house ; a girl that had lived with them some time having gone 
into the country to see her friends, and no other having been 
engaged in her absence. 

One night in the middle of August, a "night rehearsal" was 
called at Sadler's Wells. For the information of those who are 
unacquainted with theatrical matters, it may be well to state 
that a " night rehearsal" takes place after the other performances 
of the evening are over, and the public have left the house. 
Being an inconvenient and fatiguing ceremony, it is never re- 
sorted to, but when some very heavy piece (that is, one on a 
very extensive scale) is to be produced on a short notice. In 
this instance a new piece was to be played on the following 
Monday, of which the performers knew very little, and there 
being no time to lose, a " night rehearsal" was called, the natural 
consequence of which would be the detention of the company 
at the theatre until four o'clock in the morning at least. Mr. 
Lewis, having notice of the rehearsal in common with the other 
performers, locked up their dwelling-house, being the last 
person who left it ; brought the street-door key with him, and 
nanded it over to Mr. Grimaldi. 

But after the performances were over, which was shortly after 
eleven o'clock, when the curtain was raised, and the performers, 
assembling on the stage, prepared to commence the rehearsal, 
the stage-manager addressed the company in the following un- 
expected and very agreeable terms : 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, as the new drama will not be pro- 
duced, as was originally intended, on Monday next, but is de- 
ferred until that night week, we shall not be compelled to trouble 
you with a rehearsal to-night." 

This notification occasioned a very quick dispersion of the 
performers, who, very unexpectedly released from an onerous 
attendance, hurried home. Grimaldi, having something to do 
at the theatre which would occupy him about ten minutes, sent 
his mother and his friend Mrs. Lewis forward to prepare supper, 
and followed them shortly afterwards, accompanied by Mr 
Lewis and two other performers attached to the theatre. 

When the females reached home they found to their great sur- 
prise that the garden gate was open. 

" Dear me !" said Mrs. Grimaldi,* "how careless this is of 
Mr. Lewis !" 

* Mrs. Brooker. 


It was, undoubtedly ; for at that time a most notorious gang 
of thieves infested that suburb of London; it was a suburb 
then. Several of the boldest had been hung, and others trans- 
ported, but these punishments had no^ effect upon their more 
lucky companions, who committed their depredations with, if 
possible, increased hardihood and daring-. 

They were not a little surprised, after crossing the garden, to 
find that not only was the garden-gate open, but that the street- 
door was unlocked ; and pushing it gently open, they observed 
the reflection of a light at the end of the passage, upon which 
of course they both cried " Thieves !" and screamed for help. 
A man who was employed at Sadler's Wells happened to be 
passing at the time, and tendered his assistance. 

" Do you wait here with Mrs. Lewis a minute," said Grimaldi's 
mother, " and I will go into the house ; don't mind me unless 
you hear me scream ; then come to my assistance." So saying, 
she courageously entered the passage, descended the stairs, 
entered the kitchen, hastily struck a light, and on lighting a 
candle and looking round, discovered that the place had been 
plundered of almost everything it contained. 

She was running up stairs to communicate their loss, when 
Grimaldi and his friends arrived. Hearing what had occurred, 
they entered the house in a body, and proceeded to search it, 
narrowly, thinking it probable that some of the thieves, sur- 
prised upon the premises, might be still lurking there. In they 
rushed, the party augmented by the arrival of two watchmen, 
chosen, as the majority of that line body of men invariably were, 
with a specific view to their old age and infirmities, and began 
their inspection : the women screaming and crying, and the men 
all shouting together. 

The house was in a state of great disorder and confusion, but 
no thieves were to be seen; the cupboards were forced,_the 
drawers had been broken open, and every article they contained 
had been removed, with the solitary exception of a small net 
shawl, which had been worked by Miss Hughes, and given by 
her to her chosen mother-in-law. 

Leaving the others^to search the house, and the females^to be- 
wail their loss, which was really a very severe one, Grimaldi 
beckoned a Mr. King, one of the persons who had accompanied 
him home from the theatre, and suggested in a whisper that 
they should search the garden together. 

King readily complied, and he having armed himself with a 
heavy stick, and Grimaldi with an old broad-sword which he 
had hastily snatched from its peg on the first alarm, they crept 
cautiously into the back garuen, which was separated from 
those of the houses on either side by a wall from three to four 
feet high, and from a very extensive piece of pasture-land be- 
yond it at the bottom, by another wall two or three feet higher. 
It was a dark night, and they groped about the garden for 


some time, but found nobody. Grimaldi sprang upon the 
higher wall, and looking over the lower one, descried a man in 
the act of jumping from the wall of the next garden. Upon 
seeing another figure the robber paused, and taking it for that 
of his comrade in the darkness of the night, cried softly, "Hush I 
hush! is that you?" 

" Yes !" replied Grimaldi, getting as near him as he could. 
Seeing that the man, recognising the voice as a strange one, was 
about to jump down, he dealt him a heavy blow with the broad- 
sword. He yelled out loudly, and stopping for an instant, as if 
in extreme pain, dropped to the ground, limped off a few paces, 
and was lost in the darkness. 

Grimaldi shouted to his friend to follow him through the back 
gate, but seeing, from his station on the wall, that he and the 
thief took directly opposite courses, he leapt into the field, and 
set off at full speed. He was stopped in the very outset of his 
career, by tumbling over a cow, which was lying on the ground, 
in which involuntary pantomimic feat he would most probably 
have cut his own head oft* with the weapon he carried, if his 
theatrical practice as a fencer had not taught him to carry edge 
tools with caution. 

The companion having taken a little run by himself, soon 
returned out of breath, to say he had seen nobody, and they re- 
entered the house, where by the light of the candle it was seen 
that the sword was covered with blood. 

The constable of the night had arrived by this time ; and a 
couple of watchmen bearing large lanterns, to show the thieves 
they were coming, issued forth into the field, in hopes of taking 
the offenders alive or dead they would have preferred t the 
latter ; and of recovering any of the stolen property that might 
be scattered about. The direction which the wounded man had 
taken having been pointed out, they began to explore, by very 
slow degrees. 

Bustling about, striving to raise the spirits of the party, and 
beginning to stow away in their proper places such articles as 
the thieves had condescended to leave, one of the first things 
Grimaldi chanced to light upon was Miss Hughes's shawl. 

" Maria's gift, at all events," he said, taking it up and giving 
it a slight wave in his hand ; when out fell a lozenge-box upon 
the floor, much more heavily than a lozenge-box with any ordi- 
nary lozenges inside would do. 

Upon this the mother clapped her hands, and set up a louder 
scream than she had given vent to when she found the house 

" My money ! my money !" she screamed. 

"It can't be helped, my dear madam, 3 ' said everybody; 
" think of poor Mrs. Lewis ; she is quite as badly off." 

"Oh, I don't mean that," was the reply. "Oh! thank 
Heaven, they didn't find my money." So with many half- 

D 2 


frantic exclamations, she picked up the lozenge-box, and there, 
sure enough, were thirty-seven guineas, (it was completely full,) 
which had lain securely concealed beneath the shawl ! 

They sat down to supper ; but although Mrs. Grimaldi* now 
cheered up wonderfully, and quite rallied her friend upon her 
low spirits, poor Mrs. Lewis, who had found no lozenge-box, 
was quite unable to overcome her loss. Supper over, and some 
hot potations, which the fright had rendered absolutely neces- 
sary, despatched, the friends departed, and the usual inmates of 
the house were left alone to make such preparations for passing 
the night as they deemed fitting. 

They were ludicrous enough : upon comparing notes, it was 
found that nobody could sleep alone, upon which they came 
to the conclusion, that they had better all sleep in the same 
room. For this purpose, a mattress was dragged into the front 
parlour, upon which the two females bestowed themselves with- 
out undressing ; Lewis sat _in an easy chair ; and Grimaldi, 
having loaded two pistols, wiped the sanguinary stains from the 
broadsword, and laid it by his side, drew another easy-chair 
near the door, and there mounted guard. 

All had been quiet for some time, and they were falling asleep, 
when they were startled by a long loud knocking at the back- 
door, which led into the garden. They all started up and gazed 
upon each other, with looks of considerable dismay. The females 
would have screamed, only they were too frightened ; and the 
men would have laughed it off, but they were quite unable from 
the same cause to muster the faintest smile. 

Grimaldi was the first to recover the sudden shock, which the 
supposed return of the robbers had communicated to the party, 
and turning to Lewis, said, with one of his oddest looks, 

" You had better go to the back-door, old boy, and see who 
it is/* 

Mr. Lewis did not appear quite satisfied upon the point. He 
reflected for a short time, and looking with a very blank face at 
his wife, said he was much obliged to Mr. Grimaldi, but he 
'vould rather not. 

In this dilemma, it was arranged that Lewis should wait in the 
passage, and that Grimaldi should creep softly up stairs, and re- 
connoitre the enemy from the window above a plan which 
Lewis thought much more feasible, and which was at once 
put in execution. 

While these deliberations were going forward, the knocking 
had continued without cessation, and it now began to assume a 
subdued and confidential tone, which, instead of subduing 
their alarm, rather tended to increase it. Armed with the 
two^pistols and the broadsword, and looking much more like 
llobinson Crusoe than either the " Shipwrecked Mariner, "* or tho 

* Mra. Brocket. 


"Little Clown," Grimaldi thrust his head out of the window, and 
hailed the people below, in a voice which, between agitation and 
a desire to communicate to the neighbours the full benefit of 
the discussion, was something akin to that in which his well- 
known cry of " Here we are !" afterwards acquired so much 

It was between two and three o'clock in the morning, the 
day was breaking, and the light increasing fast. He could 
descry two men at the door heavily laden with something, but 
with what he could not discern. All he could see was, that it 
was not fire-arms^ and that was a comfort. 

"Hollo ! hollo !" he shouted out of the window, displaying the 
brace of pistols and the broadsword to the best advantage ; 
" what's the matter there ?" Here he coughed very fiercely, and 
again demanded what was the matter. 

" Why, sir," replied one of the men, looking up, and hold- 
ing on his hat as he did so, "we thought we should never 
wake ye." 

" And what did you want to wake me for ?" was the natural 

m "Why, the property!" replied both the men at the same 

" The what ?" inquired the master of the house, taking in the 
broadsword, and putting the pistols on the window-sill. 

" The property !" replied the two men, pettishly. " Here we 
have been a-iooking over the field all this time, and have found 
the property." 

!No further conversation was necessary. The door was opened, 
and the watchmen entered bearing two large sacks, which they 
had stumbled on in the field, and the females, falling on their 
knees before them, began dragging forth their contents in an 
agony of impatience. After a lengthened examination, it was 
found that the sacks contained every article that had been taken 
away; that not one, however trifling, was missing; and that 
they had come into possession, besides, of a complete and exten- 
sive assortment of nouse-breaking tools, including centre-bit, 
picklock, keys, screws, dark lanterns, a file, and a crow-bar. 
The watchmen were dismissed with ten shillings, and as many 
thousand thanks, and the party breakfasted in a much more 
comfortable manner than that in which they had supped on the 
previous night. 

The conversation naturally turned upon the robbery, and 
various conjectures and surmises were hazarded relative to the 
persons by whom it had been committed. It appeared perfectly 
evident that the thieves, whoever they were, must have obtained 
information of the expected night rehearsal at Sadler's Wells ; 
it was equally clear that if the rehearsal had not been most for- 
tunately postponed, they would not only have lost everything 
they possessed, but the thieves would have got clear oif with the 


booty into the bargain. It was worthy of remark, that the 
house had never been attempted when the servant girl was at 
home, and the females were half inclined to attach suspicion to 
her ; but on reflection it seemed unlikely that she was implicated 
in the transaction, for she was the daughter of very respectable 
parents, not to mention her uncle having held the situation of 
master-tailor to the theatre for forty years, and her aunt having 
served the family in the same capacity as the girl herself. In 
addition to these considerations, she had been well brought up,, 
had always appeared strictly honest, and had already lived m 
the house for nearly four years. Upon these grounds it was re- 
solved that the girl could not be a party to the attempt. 

But whoever committed the burglary, it was necessary that the 
house should be well secured, with which view a carpenter was 
sent for, and a great supply of extra bolts and bars were placed 
upon the different doors. Notwithstanding these precautions, 
however, and the additional security which they necessarily 
afforded, the females were very nervous for a long time, and the 
falling of a plate, or slamming of a door, or a loud ringing at the 
bell, or above all, the twopenny postman after dark, was sufficient 
to throw them into the extremity of terror. Being determined not 
to leave the house, in future, without somebody to take care of 
it while the family were at the theatre, they resolved, after 
many pros and cons, to engage for the purpose, a very trust- 
worthy man, who was employed as a watchman to the theatre,, 
but was not required to attend until eleven o'clock at night, by 
which time, at all events, some _ of the family would be able to 
reach home. The man was hired, and commenced his watch, 
on the night after the robbery; and there he continued to 
remain, every evening, until the return of the servant girl from 
the country released him from further attendance. 

The agitation and surprise of this girl were very great, when 
she was informed of what had occurred, but they did not appear 
to be the emotions of a guilty person. All agreed that there was 
no good ground of suspicion against her. She was asked if she 
would be afraid to be left alone in the house after what had 
taken place, when she declared that she was not afraid of any 
thieves, and that she would willingly sit up alone, as she had 
been accustomed to do ; merely stipulating that she should be 
albwed to light a fire in Lewis's sitting room, for the purpose of 
inducing robbers to suppose that the family were at home, and 
that she should be provided with a large rattle, with which to 
alarm the neighbours at any appearance of danger. Both re- 
quests were complied with; and as an additional precaution, 
the street watchman, whose box was within a few yards of the 
door, was fee'd to be on the alert, to keep a sharp eye upon the 
house, and to attend to any summons from within, whenever it 
might be made. 

The thieves, whoever they were, were very wanton fellows. 


and added outrage to plunder, for with the most heartless 
cruelty, and an absence of all taste for scientific pursuits, which 
woiild stigmatise them at once as occupying a very low grade in. 
their profession, had broken open a closet in Grimaldi's room, 
containing his chosen cabinet of insects, including Dartford 
.Blues, which, either because it was not portable, or because 
they thought it of no value, attaching no importance to flies, 
they most recklessly and barbarously destroyed. With the 
exception of one small box, they utterly annihilated the whole 
collection, including even his models, drawings, and colours : it 
would have taken years to replace them, if the collector had 
been most indefatigable ; and it would have cost at least 200?. to 
have replaced them by purchase. This unforeseen calamity put 
a total stop to the fly-catching, so collecting together his nets, 
and cases, and the only box which was not destroyed, he gave 
them all away next day to an acquaintance who had a taste for 
such things, and never more employed himself in a similar 

After the lapse of a short time, the arrangements and precau- 
tions infused renewed confidence into the inmates of the house, 
and they began to feel more secure than they had yet done 
since the robbery ; a fortnight had now passed over, and they 
strengthened themselves with the reflection, that the thieves 
having met with so disagreeable a reception, one of them at least 
having been severely wounded, were very unlikely to renew the 

But well founded as these conjectures > might seem, they 
reckoned without their host, for on the third night, after the 
girl's return, they made a fresh, for which we will re- 
serve a fresh chapter. 



1797 to 1798. 

The thieves make a second attempt ; alarmed by their perseverance, Grimaldi 
repairs to Hatton Garden Interview with Mr. Trott ; ingenious device of 
that gentleman and its result on the third visit of the Burglars Comparative 
attractions of Pantomime and Spectacle Trip to Gravesend and Chatham 
Disagreeable recognition of a good-humoured friend, and an agreeable mode 
of journejing recommended to all Travellers. 

ON the _ third night, the previous two having passed in per- 
fect quiet and security^, the servant girl was at work in the 
kitchen, when she fancied she heard a sound as if some person 
were attempting to force open the garden-door. She thought it 
merely the effect of fancy at first, but the noise continuing, she 
went softly up stairs into the passage, and on looking towards 
the door, saw that the latch was moved up and down several 
times by a hand outside, while some person pushed violently 
against the door itself. 

The poor girl being very much frightened, her first impulse 
was to scream violently ; but so far were her cries from deterring 
the persons outside from persisting in their attempt, that they 
only seemed to press it with redoubled vigour. Indeed, ?/o 
violent were their exertions, as if irritated by the noise the girl 
made, that the door was very nearly forced from its position, in 
which state it was discovered on a subsequent inspection. If it 
had not been proof against the attacks of the thieves, the girl 
would assuredly have been murdered. Recovering her presence 
of mind, however, on finding that they could not force an en- 
trance^ she ran to the street-door, flung it open, and had 
immediate recourse to the rattle, which she wielded with such 
hearty good will, that the watchman and half the neighbour- 
hood were quickly on the spot. Immediate search was made 
for the robbers in the rear of the house, but they had thought it 
prudent to escape quietly. 

Upon the return of the family, all their old apprehensions 
were revived, and their former fears were increased tenfold by 
the bold and daring nature of this second attempt. Watch was 
kept all night, the watchers starting at the slightest sound ; 
rest was out of the question, and nothing but dismay and con- 
tusion prevailed. 

The ^ ext morning it was resolved that the house should be 
lortined with additional strength, and that when these precau- 


tions had been taken, Grimaldi should repair to the police-office 
of the district, state his case to the sitting: magistrate, and claim 
the assistance of the constituted authorities. 

Having had bars of iron, and plates of iron, and patent locks^ 
and a variety of ingenious defences affixed to the interior of the 
garden-door, which, when fastened with all these appurtenances, 
appeared nearly impregnable, Grimaldi accordingly walked 
down to Hatton Garden, with the view of backing the locks 
and bolts with the aid of the executive. 

There was at that time a very shrewd, knowing officer attached 
to that establishment, whose name was Trott. This Trott was 
occasionally employed to assist the regular constables at the 
theatre, when they expected a great house ; and G-rimaldi no 
sooner stepped into the passage, than walking up to him, Trott 
accosted him with : 

" How do, master ?" 

" How do you do ?" 

" Pretty well, thankee, master ; I was just going to call up at 
your place." 

" AJi !" said tho other, " you have heard of it, then ?" 

" Yes, I have heard of it," said Mr. Trott, with a grin, " and 
heard a great deal more about it than you know on, master." 

"You don't surely mean to say that you have apprehended 
the burglars r" 

" No, no, I don't mean that ; I wish I did : they have been 
one too many for me as yet. Why, when they first started in 
business there worn't fewer than twenty men in that gang. 
Sixteen or seventeen on 'em have been hung or transported, and 
the rest is them that has been at your house. They have got a 
hiding-place somewhere in Pentonville. I'll tell you what, 
master," said Trott, taking the other by the button, and speak- 
ing in a hoarse whisper, "they are the worst of the lot ; up to 
everything they are ; and take my word for it, Mr. Grimaldi, 
they'll stick at nothing." 

Grimaldi looked anything but pleased at this intelligence, and 
Trott observing his disturbed countenance, added, 

"Don't you be alarmed, master; what they want is, their 
revenge for their former disappointment. That's what it is," 
said Trott, nodding his head sagaciously. 

" It appears very extraordinary," said Grimaldi. " This is a 
very distressing situation to be placed in." 

" Why, so it is," said the officer, after a little consideration ; 
" so it is, when you consider that they never talk without doing. 
But don't be afraid, Mr. Grimaldi." 

" Oh no, I'm not," replied the other ; adding, in as cool a 
manner as he could assume, *' they came again last night." 

"I know that," said the officer. "I'll let you into another 
secret, master. They are coming again to-night." 

" Again to-night ! exclaimed Grimaldi. 


" As sure as fate," replied the officer, nodding to a friend who 
was passing down the street on the other side of the way, 
" and if your establishment an't large enough, and powerful 
enough to resist 'em " 

" Large and powerful enough !" exclaimed the other, *"' why 
there are only three women and one other male person besides 
myself in the house." 

'"Ah !" said Mr. Trott, " that isn't near enoiigh." 

"Enough! no!" rejoined Grimaldi ; "and it would kill my 

"I dare say it would," acquiesced the officer; "my mother 
was killed in a similar manner." 

This, like the rest of the officer's discourse, was far from con- 
solatory, and Grimaldi looked anxiously in his face for something 
like a ray of hope. 

Mr. Trott meditated for some short time, and then, looking 
up with his head on one side, said, " I think I see a way now, 

" What is it ? What do you propose ? I'm agreeable to any- 
thing," said Grimaldi, in a most accommodating manner. 

" Never mind that," said the officer. " You put yourself into 
mv hands, and I'll be the saving of your property, and the 
taking of them." 

Grimaldi burst into many expressions of admiration and 
gratitude, and put his hand into Mr. Trott's hands, as an 
earnest of his readiness to deposit himself there. 

" Only rid us," said Grimaldi, " of these dreadful visitors, 
who really keep us in a state of perpetual misery, and anything 
you think proper^to accept shall be cheerfully paid you." " 

The officer replied, Ayith many moral observations on the duties 
of police-officers, their incorruptible honesty, their zeal, and 
rigid discharge of the functions reposed in them. If Mr. 
Grimaldi would do his duty to his country, and prosecute them 
to conviction^ that was all he required. 

To this, Grimaldi, not having any precise idea of the expense 
of a prosecution, readily assented, and the officer declared he 
should be sufficiently repaid by the pleasing consciousness of 
having done his duty. He did not consider it necessary to add. 
that a reward had been offered for the apprehension of the same 
offenders, payable on their conviction. 

m They walked back to the house together, and the officer having 
inspected it with the practised eye of an experienced person., 
declared himself thoroughly satisfied, and stated that if his 
injunctions were strictly attended to, he had no doubt his final 
operations would be completely successful. 

" It will be necessary," said Trott, speaking with great pomp 

and _ grandeur, as the inmates assembled round him to hear his 

oration, " it will be necessary to take every portable article out 

: the back kitchen, the parlour, and the bed-room, and to give 

me up the entire possession of this house fey one night ; at least 


until such time as I shall have laid my hand upon these here 

It is needless to say that this proposition was agreed to, and 
that the females at once went about clearing the rooms as the 
officer had directed. At five o'clock in the afternoon he returned, 
and the keys of the house were delivered up to him. These 
arrangements having been made, the family departed to the 
theatre as usual, leaving Mr. Trott alone in the house ; for the 
servant girl had been sent away to a neighbour's by his desire, 
whether from any feeling of delicacy on the part of Mr. Trott, 
(who was a married man,) or from any apprehension that she 
might impede his operations, we are not informed. 

The officer remained alone in the house, taking care not to go 
near any of the windows until it was dark, when two of his 
colleagues, coming by appointment to _ the garden-door, were 
stealthily admitted into the house. Having carefully scrutinised 
the whole place, they disposed themselves in the following order. 
One man locked and bolted in the front kitchen, another locked 
and bolted himself in the sitting-room above stairs, and Mr. 
Trott, the presiding genius, in the front-parlour towards the 
street ; the last-named gentleman having, before he retired into 
ambuscade, bolted and barred the back-door, and only locked 
the front one. 

Here they remained for some time, solitary enough, no doubt, 
for there was not a light in the house, and each man being 
fastened in a room by himself was as much alone as if there had 
been no one else in the place. The time seemed unusually long ; 
they listened intently, and were occasionally deceived for an 
instant by some noise in the street, but it soon subsided again, 
and all was silent as before. 

At length, some time after night-fall, a low knock came to the 
street-door. No attention being paid to it, the knock was re- 
peated, and this time it was rather louder. It echoed through 
the house, but no one stirred. After a short interval, as if the 
person outside had been listening and had satisfied himself, a 
slight rattling was heard at the keyhole, and, the lock being- 
picked, the footsteps of two men were heard in the passage. 

They quietly bolted the door after them, and pulling from 
beneath their coats a couple of dark lanterns, walked softly up 
stairs. Finding the door of the front-room locked, they came 
down again, and tried the front-parlour, which was also locked, 
whereat, Mr. Trott, who was listening with his ear close to the 
handle, laughed ^immoderately, but without noise. 

Unsuccessful in these two attempts, they went down stairs, 
and with some surprise found one of the kitchens locked, and 
the other open. Only stopping just to peep into the open one, 
they once more ascended to the passage. 

" Well," said one of the men, as he came up the kitchen stairs, 
"we have got it all to ourselves to-night, anyway, so we had 
better not lose any time Hollo I" 


" What's the matter?" said the other, looking back. 

"Look here!" rejoined his comrade, pointing to the garden- 
door, with the bolts, and iron plates, and patent locks, '* here's 
protection here's security for a friend. These have been put 
on since we were here afore ; we might have tried to get in for 

" We had better stick it open," said the other man, " and then 
if there's any game in front, we can get off as we did t'other 

" Easily said. How do you do it ?" said the first speaker . 
*' it will take no end of time, and make no end of noise, to undo 
all these things. We had better look sharp. There's no re- 
hearsal to-night, remember." 

At this, they both laughed, and determining to take the 
front-parlour first, picked the lock without more ado. This 
done, they pushed against the door to open it, but were unable 
to do so by reason of the bolts inside, which Mr. Trott had taken 
good care to thrust into the staples as far as they would possi- 
bly go. 

"This is a rum game!" said one of the fellows, giving the 
door a kick, "it wont open !" 

"Never mind, let it be," said the other man; "there's a 
spring or something. The back kitchen's open ; we had better 
begin ^ there; we know there's some property here, because we 
took it away before. Show yourself smart, and bring the 

As the speaker stooped to trim his lantern, the other man 
joined him, and said, with an oath and a chuckle 

" Shouldn't you like to know who it was as struck you with 
the sword, Tom ?" 

" I wish I did," growled the other ; " I'd put a knife in him 
before many days was over. Come on." 

.They went down stairs, and Trott, softly gliding from his 
hiding-place, double-locked the street-door, and put the key in 
his^pocket. He then stationed himself at the top of the kitchen 
stairs, where he listened with great glee to the exclamations of 
surprise and astonishment which escaped the robbers, as they 
opened drawer after drawer, and found them all empty. 

" Everything taken away !" said one of the men : " what the 
devil does this mean ?" 

The officer, by way of reply, fired a pistol charged only with 
blank powder, down the stairs, and retreated expeditiously to 
his parlour. 

This being the signal, the sound was instantly followed by the 
noise of the other two officers unlocking and unbolting the doors 
vj hiding-places. The thieves, scrambling up stairs, 
rushed quickly to the street-door, but, in consequence of its 
being locked, they were unable to escape ; were easily made 
prisoners, handcuffed, and borne away in triumph. 


The affair was all over, and the house restored to order, when 
^he family came home. The officer who had been despatched to 
jring the servant home, and left behind to bear her company in 
lase any of the companions of the thieves should pay the house 
a visit, took his departure as soon as they appeared, bearing 
with him a large sack left behind by the robbers, which con- 
tained as extensive an assortment of the implements of their 
trade, as had been so fortunately captured on their first ap- 

Grimaldi appeared at Hatton Garden the next morning, and 
was introduced to the prisoners for the first time. His testi- 
mony haying been taken, and the evidence of Mr. Trott and his 
men received, by which the identity of the criminals was clearly 
proved, they were fully committed for trial, and Grimaldi was 
bound over to prosecute. They were tried at the ensuing Ses- 
sions; the jury at once found them guilty, and they were 
transported for life. 

This anecdote, which is narrated in every particular precisely 
as the circumstances occurred, affords a striking and curious 
picture of the state of society in and about London, in this 
respect, at the very close of the last century. The bold and 
daring highwaymen who took the air at Hounslow, Bagshot, 
JFinchley, and a hundred other places of quite fashionable resort, 
had ceased to canter their blood-horses over heath and road in 
search of plunder, but there still existed in the capital and its 
environs, common and poorer gangs of thieves, whose depreda- 
tions were conducted with a daring, and disregard of conse- 
quences, which to the citizens of this age is wholly extraordinary. 
One attempt at robbery similar to that which has just been de- 
scribed, committed now-a-days in such a spot, would fill the 
public papers for a month; but three such attempts on the 
same house, and by the same men, would set all London, and 
all the country for thirty miles round to boot, in a ferment of 
wonder and indignation. 

It was proved, on the examination of these men at the police- 
office, that they were the only remaining members of a band of 
thieves called the "Pentonville Robbers," and the prosecutor 
and his family congratulated themselves not a little upon the 
fact, inasmuch as it relieved them from the apprehension that 
Jhere were any more of their companions left behind who might 
feel disposed to revenge their fate. 

This was Grimaldi's first visit to a police-office. His next 
appearance on the same scene was under very different circum- 
stances. But of this anon. 

The fears of the family had been so thoroughly roused, and 
their dreams were haunted by such constant visions of the Pen- 
tonville Robbers, that the house grew irksome and distressing, 
especially to the females. Moreover, Grimaldi now began to 
think it nigh time that his marriage should take pkce ; and, as 


now that he had gained the mother's approval, he did not so 
entirely despair of succeeding with the father, he resolved to 
take a larger house, and to furnish and fit it up handsomely, on 
a scale proportionate to his increased means. He naturally 
trusted that Mr. Hughes would be more disposed to entrust hia 
daughter's happiness to his charge when he found that her 
suitor was enabled to provide her with a comfortable, if not an 
elegant home, and to support her in a sphere of life not very 
distantly removed from that in which her father's fortunes and 
possessions entitled her to be placed. 

Accordingly, he gave notice to the landlord of the ill-fated 
house in Penton-place, that he should quit it in the following 
March ; and accompanied by Miss Hughes, to whom, as he very 
properly says, " of course" he referred everything, they wan- 
dered about the whole neighbourhood in search of some house 
that would be more suitable to them. Pento'n-street^was the 
St. James's of Pentonville, the Regent's Park of the City-road, 
in those days ; and here he was fortunate enough to secure the 
house No. 37, which was forthwith furnished and fitted up, 
agreeably to the taste and direction of Miss Hughes herself. 

He had plenty of time to devote to the contemplation of his 
expected happiness, and the complete preparation of his new 
residence, for Sadler's Wells Theatre was then closed, the 
season terminating at that time at the end of October, and as 
lie was never wanted at Drury Lane until Christmas, and not 
much then, unless they produced a pantomime, his theatrical 
avocations were not of a very heavy or burdensome description. 

This year, too, the proprietors of Drury Lane, in pursuance of 
a custom to which they had adhered for some years, produced 
an expensive pageant instead of a pantomime ; an alteration, in 
Grimaldi's opinion, very little for the better, if not positively for 
the worse. It having been the established custom for many 
years to produce a pantomime at Christmas, the public naturally 
looked for it; and although such pieces as "Blue Beard," 
" Feudal Times," " Lodoiska," and others of the same class, 
undoubtedly drew money to the house, still it is questionable 
whether they were so profitable to the treasury as the panto- 
mimes at_Covent Garden. If we may judge from the result, 
they certainly were not, for after several years' trial, during the 
whole of which time pantomimes were annually produced at 
Covent Garden, the Christmas pantomime was again brought 
forward at Drury Lane, to the exclusion of spectacle. 

He played in all these^ pieces, "Blue Beard," and so forth; 
yet his parts being of a trilling description, occupied no time in 
the getting up, and as he infinitely preferred the company of Miss 
Hughes to that of a theatrical audience, he was well pleased. 
By the end of February, the whitewashers, carpenters, uphol- 
sterers, even the painters, had left the Penton-street mansion, 
and there being no pantomime, it seemed a very eligible period 
for being married at once. 


Grimaldi told Miss Hughes that he thought so : Miss Hughes 
replied that he had only to gain her father^ consent in the first 
instance, and then the day should be fixed without more ado. 

This was precisely what the lover was most anxious to avoid, 
for two reasons : firstly, because it involved the very probable 
postponement of his happiness; and secondly, because the ob- 
taining this consent was an a,wkward process. At last he recol- 
lected that in consequence of Mr. Hughes being out of town, it 
was quite impossible to ask him. 

"Very good," said Miss Hughes; "everything happens for 
the best. I am sure you would never venture to speak to him on 
the subject, so you had far better write. He will not keep you 
long in suspense, I know, for he is quite certain to answer your 
letter by return of post." 

Mr. Hughes was then at Exeter ; and as it certainly did ap- 
pear to his destined son-in-law a much better course to write 
than to speak, even if he had been in London, he sat down 
without delay, and, after various trials, produced such a letter 
as he thought would be most likely to find its way to the father's 
heart. Miss Hughes approving of the contents, it was re-read, 
copied, punctuated, folded, and posted. 

Next day the lady was obliged to leave town, to spend a short 
time with some friends at Gravesend ; and the lover, very much 
to his annoyance and regret, was fain to stay behind, and con- 
sole himself as he best could, in his mistress's absence, and the 
absence of a reply from her father, to which he naturally looked 
forward with considerable impatience and anxiety. 

Five days passed away, and still no letter came ; and poor 
Grimaldi, being left to his own fears and apprehensions, was 
reduced to the most desperate and dismal forebodings. Having 
no employment at the theatre, and nothing to dp but to think of 
his mistress and his letter, he was almost beside himself with 
anxiety and suspense. It was with no small pleasure, then, 
that he received a note from Miss Hughes, entreating him to 
take a trip down to Gravesend in one of the sailing-boats on the 
following Sunday, as he could return by the same conveyance on 
the same night. Of course he was not slow to avail himself of 
the invitation; so he took shipping at the Tower on the morning 
of the day appointed, and readied the place of his destination in 
pretty good time. The only water communication was by sailing- 
boats ; and as at that time people were not independent of wind 
and tide, and everything but steam, the passengers were quite 
satisfied to get down when they did. 

He found Miss Hughes waiting for him at the landing-place, 
and getting into a " tide" m coach, they proceeded to Chatham, 
Miss Hughes informing him that she had made a confidant or 
her brother, who was stationed there, and that they purposed 
spending the day together. 

" And now, Joe." said Miss Hughes, when he had expressed 


the pleasure which this arrangement afforded him, " tell me 
everything that has happened. What does my father say ?" 

"My dear," replied Grimaldi, "he says nothing at all; he 
has not answered my letter." 

"Not answered your letter!" said the lady: "his punctuality 

" So I have always heard," replied Grimaldi: "but so it is ; I 
have not heard a syllable." 

" Then you must write again, Joe," said Miss Hughes, " im- 
mediately, without the least delay. Let me see, you cannot 
very well write to-day, but to-morrow you must not fail : I 
cannot account for his silence." 

" Nor I," said Grimaldi. 

" Unless, indeed," said Miss Hughes, " some extraordinary 
business has driven your letter from his memory." 

As people always endeavour to believe what they hope, they 
were not long in determining that it must be so. Dismissing 
the subject from their minds, they spent the day happily, in 
company with young Mr. Hughes, and returning to Gravesend 
in the evening by another tide coach, Grimaldi was on board the 
sailing-boat shortly before eleven o'clock; it being arranged 
that Miss Hughes was to follow on the next Saturday. 

In the cabin of the boat he found Mr. De Cleve,* at that time 
treasurer of Sadler's Wells. There are jealousies in theatres, as 
there are in courts, ball-rooms, and boarding-schools ; and this 
Mr. De Cleve was jealous of Grimaldi not because he stood in 
his way, for he had no touch of comedy in his composition, but 
because he had eclipsed, and indeed altogether outshone, one 

Vincent de Cleve, facetiously nick-named among his associates, " Polly de 
Cleve," not from any efl'eminacy of character or manner, or his almost intolerable 
abuse of the King's English by the constant utterance of the most flagrant cock- 
neyisms, but for his Marplot qualities, which ever prompted him to pry into 
everybody's business, and create by his interference the most vexatious mischief. 
He \vasan odd fish. Talent he had; he was no contemptible composer and 
musician, and in his office, as treasurer to the Wells for many years, strictly 
honest. Between Sadler's Wells and the Angel was an old building, immediately 
opposite Lady Owen's Almshouses, now also demolished, called Goose Farm ; 
it belonged to Mr. Laycock, the cow-keeper of Islington ; but had ceased to be 
a farm-house ; and was divided into tenements ; the first and second floors were 
each divided into two suites of apartments. On the first floor in that next the 
Wells, resided John Cawse, the artist, whose daughters subsequently distin- 
guished themselves as vocalists of no common power, and made their debut in 
1820 at Sadler's Wells, where the late Mrs. Cawse was also an actress. 

The suite next the Angel was occupied by the mother and sister of Charles 
and Thomas Dibdin ; during the management of the Wells by the former, the 
sister, a short squab figure, generally the last among the figurantes, came on 
among villagers and mobs ; but under other lessees was not employed, and died 
21 Clerkenweil Poor-House. De Cleve occupied the rooms on the second floor 
aoove the Dibdins : but all have ceased to exist ; and Joe, to use a common ex- 
pression, outlived nis enemy. A grave stone, laid flat, in the churchyard of St. 
Mary's, Lambeth, marks the spot where lie buried, Mrs. Frances De Cleve, who 
died in her thirtieth year, May 3, 1795; and her husband, the busy meddler, 
Vincent de Cleve, who died July 30, 1827, aged 67. 


Mr. Hartland, " a very clever and worthy man," says Grimaldi, 
who was at that time also engaged as a pantomimic and melo- 
dramatic actor at Sadler's Wells. Mr. De Cleve, tliinking for 
his friends as well as himself, hated Grimaldi most cordially, 
and the meeting was consequently by no means an agreeable one 
to him ; for if he had chanced to set eyes upon Miss Hughes, 
great mischief-making and turmoil would be the inevitable 

" In the name of wonder, Grimaldi," said this agreeable cha- 
racter, " what are you doing here ?" 

" Going back to London," replied Grimaldi, " as I suppose 
most of us are." 

" That is not what I meant," said De Cleve : " what I meant 
was, to ask you what business might have taken you to Graves- 
end ?" 

"Oh! no business at all," replied the other: "directly I 
landed, I went off by the tide-coach to Chatham." 

"Indeed !" said the other. 

" Yes," said Grimaldi. 

The treasurer looked rather puzzled at this, sufficiently show- 
ing by his manner that he had been hunting about Gravesend 
all day in search of the young man. He remained silent a short 
time, and then said, " I only asked because I thought you might 
have had a dinner engagement at Gravesend, perhaps, with a 
young lady, even. Who knows ?" 

This little sarcasm on the part of the worthy treasurer con- 
vinced Grimaldi, that having somewhere picked up the informa- 
tion that Miss Hughes was at Gravesend, and having heard 
afterwards from Mrs. Lewis, or somebody at the theatre, that 
Grimaldi was going to the same place, he had followed him' 
thither with the amiable intention of playing the spy, and 
watching his proceedings. If he had observed the young people 
together, his mischievous intentions would have been completely 
successful ; but the tide-coach had balked him, and Mr. De 
Cleve' s good-natured arrangements were futile. 

Grimaldi laughed in his sleeve as the real state of the case 

resented itself to his mind ; and feeling well pleased that he 
ad not seen them together, in the absence of any reply from 
Mr. De Cleve, he ascended to the deck, and left the treasurer to 
his meditations. 

Upon the deck, on a green bench with a back to it, and arms 
besides, there sat a neighbour, and a neighbour's wife, and the 
neighbour's wife's sister, and a very pretty girl, who was the 
neighbour's wife's sister's friend. There was just room for one 
more on the bench, and they insisted upon Mr. Grimaldi occu- 
pying the vacant seat, which he readily did, for they were 
remaining on deck to avoid the closeness of the cabin, and ha 
preferred the cold air of the night to the cold heart of Mr. Ds 


So down he sat next to the pretty friend ; and the pretty friend 
being wrapped in a very large seaman's coat, it was suggested 
by the neighbour, who was a wag in his way, that she ought to 
lend a bit of it to Mr. Grimaldi, who looked very cold. After a 
great deal of blushing and giggling, the young lady put her left 
arm through the left arm of the coat, and Grimaldi put his right 
arm through the right arm of the coat, to the great admiration 
of the whole party, and after the manner in which they show 
the giants' coats at the fairs. They sat in this way during the 
whole voyage, and Grimaldi always declared that it was a very 
comfortable way of travelling, as no doubt it is. 

"Laugh away !" he_said, as die party gave vent to their de- 
light in bursts of merriment. " If we had only something here 
to warm us internally as well as the great-coat does externally, 
we would laugh all night." 

" What should you recommend for that purpose r" asked the 

"Brandy," said the friend. 

"Then," rejoined the neighbour, "if you were a harlequin, 
instead of a clown, you could not have conjured it up quicker." 
And with these words, the neighbour, who was a plump, red- 
faced, merry fellow, held up with both hands a large heavy stone 
bottle, with an inverted drinking-horn resting on the bung ; 
and having laughed very much at his own forethought, he set 
the stone bottle down, and sat himself on the top of it. 

It was the only thing wanting to complete the mirth of the 
party, and very merry they were. It was a fine moonlight night, 
cold, but healthy and fresh, and it passed pleasantly and quickly 
away. The day had broken before they reached Billingsgate- 
stairs; the stone-bottle was empty, the neighbour asleep, 
Grimaldi and the young lady buttoned up in the great-coat, 
and the wife and daughter very jocose and good-humoured. 

Here they parted: the neighbour's family went home in a 
hackney-coach, and Grimaldi, bidding them f^od-bye, walked 
away to Gracechurch-street, not forgetting to thank the young 
lady for her humanity and coo^assion. 

He had occasion to call at a coach-office in Gracechurch- 
street ; but finding that it was not yet open (for it was very 
early), and not feeling at all fatigued by his journey, he deter- 
mined to walk about the city for a couple of hours or so, and 
then to return to the coach-office. By so doing, he would pass 
away the time till the office opened, gain an opportunity of 
looking about him in that part of London, to which he was 
quite a stranger, and avoid disturbing *he family at home until 
a more seasonable hour. So he made up his mind to walk the 
two hours away, and turned back for &at purpose. 




An extraordinary circumstance concerning himself, with another extraordinary 
circumstance concerning his grandfather Specimen of a laconic epistle, and 
an account of two interviews with Mr. Hughes, in the latter of which a bene- 
volent gentleman is duly rewarded for his trouble Preparations for his 
marriage Fatiguing effects of his exertions at the Theatre. 

IT was now broad day. The sun had risen, and was shedding a 
fine mild light over the quiet street. The crowd so soon to be 
let loose upon them was not yet stirring, and the only people 
visible were the passengers who had landed from the boats, or 
who had just entered London by other early conveyances. Al- 
though he had lived in London all his life, he knew far less 
about it than many country people who have visited it once or 
twice ; and so unacquainted was he with the particular quarter 
of the city in which he found himself, that he had never even 
seen the Tower of London. He walked down to look at that ; 
and then he stared at the buildings round about, and the 
churches, and a thousand objects which no one but a loiterer 
ever bestows a glance upon ; and so was walking on pleasantly 
enough, when all at once he struck his foot against something 
which was lying on the pavement. 

Looking down to see what it was, he perceived, to his great 
surprise, a richly-ornamented net purse, of a very large size, 
filled with gold coin. 

He was perfectly paralyzed by the sight. He looked at it 
again and again without daring to touch it. Then, by a sudden 
impulse, he glanced cautiously round, and seeing that he was 
wholly unobserved, and that there was not a solitary being 
within sight, he picked up the purse and thrust it into his 

As he stooped for this purpose, he observed, lying on the 
ground on very nearly the same spot, a small bundle of papers 
tied round with a piece of string. He picked them up too, 
mechanically. What was his astonishment, on examining this 
last discovery more narrowly, to find that the bundle was com- 
posed exclusively of bank-notes ! 

There was still nobody to be seen : there were no passers-by, 
no sound of footsteps in the adjacent streets. He lingered about 
the spot for more than an hour, eagerly scrutinizing the faces 



o the people, who now began passing to and fro, with looks 
which themselves almost seemed to inquire whether they had 
lost anything. No ! there was no inquiry, no searching ; no 
person ran distractedly past him, or groped among the mud by 
the pavement's side. It was evidently of no use waiting there ; 
and, quite tired of doing so, he turned and walked slowly back 
to the coach-office in Gracechurch-street. He met or overtook 
no person on the road who appeared to have lost anything, far 
less the immense sum of money (for such it appeared to him) 
that he had found. 

All this time, and for hours afterwards, he was in a state of 
turmoil and agitation almost inconceivable. He felt as if he 
had committed some dreadful theft, and feared discovery, and 
the shameful punishment which must follow it. His legs 
trembled beneath him so that he could scarcely walk, his heart 
beat violently, and the perspiration started on his face. 

The more he reflected upon the precise nature of his situation, 
the more distressed and apprehensive he became. Suppose the 
money were to be found upon him by_ the loser, who would 
believe him, when he declared that he picked it up in the street? 
Would it not appear much more probable that he had stolen it? 
and if such a charge were brought against him, by what evi- 
dence could he rebut it ? As these thoughts, and twenty such, 
passed through his mind, he was more than once tempted to 
draw the money from his pocket, fling it on the pavement, and 
take to his heels ; which he was only restrained from doing by 
reflecting, that if he were observed and questioned, his answers 
might at once lead him to be accused of a charge of robbery, in 
which case he would be as badly off as if he were in the grasp 
of the real loser. It would appear at first sight a very lucky 
thing to find such a purse ; but Grimaldi thought himself far 
from fortunate as these torturing thoughts filled his mind. 

When he got to Gracechurch-street, he found the coach-office 
still closely shut, and turning towards home through Coleman- 
streetand Finsbury- square, he passed into the City-road, which 
then, with the exception of a few houses in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the Angel at Islington, was entirely lined on 
both sides with the grounds of market-gardeners. This was a 
favourable place to count the treasure ; so, sitting down upon a 
bank in a retired spot, just where the Eagle Tavern now stands, 
he examined his prize. The gold in the purse was all in 
guineas. ^ The whole contents of the bundle were in bank-notes, 
varying in their amounts from five to fifty pounds each. And 
this was all there was ; no memorandum, no card, no scrap of 
paper, no document of any kind whatever, afforded the slightest 
clue to the name or residence of the owner. Besides the money, 
there was nothing but the piece of string which kept the notes 
together, and the handsome silk net purse before mentioned, 
Which held the gold. 


He could not count the money then, for his fingers trembled 
so that he could scarcely separate the notes, and he was so con- 
fused and bewildered that he could not reckon the gold. He 
counted it shortly after he reached home, though, and found 
that there were 380 guineas, and 200?. in notes, making in the 
whole the sum of 599 1. 

He reached home between seven and eight o'clock, where, 
going instantly to bed, he remained sound asleep for several 
hours. There was no news respecting the money, which he 
longed to appropriate to his own use ; so he put it carefully by, 
determining of course to abstain rigidly from doing so, and to 
use all possible means to discover the owner. 

He did not forget the advice of Miss Hughes in the hurry 
and excitement consequent upon his morning's adventure, but 
wrote another epistle to the father, recapitulating the substance 
of a former letter, and begged to be favoured with a reply. 

Having despatched this to the post-office, he devoted the 
remainder of the day to a serious consideration of the line of 
action it would be most proper to adopt with regard to the five- 
hundred and ninety-nine pounds so suddenly acquired. Even- 
tually, he resolved to consult an old and esteemed friend of his 
father's, upon whose judgment he knew he might depend, and 
whose best advice he felt satisfied he could command. 

This determination he carried into execution that same 
evening ; and after a long conversation with the gentleman in 
question, during which he met all the young man's natural and 
probably apparent inclination to apply the money to his own 
occasions and views with arguments and remarks which were 
wholly unanswerable, he submitted to be guided by him, and 
acted accordingly. 

For a whole week the two ^ friends carefully examined every 
paper which was published in London, if not in the hope, at 
least in the expectation, of seeing the loss advertised ; but, 
strange as it may seem, nothing of the kind appeared. At the 
end of the period named, an advertisement, of which the fol- 
lowing is a copy, (their joint production,) appeared in the daily 
papers : 

"Found by a gentleman in the streets of London, some money, 
which will be restored to the owner upon his giving a satisfac- 
tory account of the manner of its loss, its amount, the numbers 
of the notes, &c. &c." 

To this was appended a full and particular address : but, not- 
withstanding all these precautions, notwithstanding the pub- 
licity that was given to the advertisement, and notwithstanding' 
that the announcement was frequently repeated, from that 
hour to the very last moment of nis life, Grimaldi never heard 
one word or syllable regarding the treasure he had so singularly 
acquired ; nor was he ever troubled with any one application 
relative to the notice. 

A somewhat similar circumstance occurred to his maternal 


grandfather.* He was in the habit of attending Leadenhall 
Market early every Thursday morning, and as he_ frequently 
made large purchases, his purse was generally well lined. Upon 
one occasion, he took with him nearly four hundred pounds, 
principally in gold and silver, which formed a tolerably large 
bagful, the weight of which rather impeded his progress. When 
he arrived near the Royal Exchange, he found that his shoe had 
become unbuckled, and taking from his pocket the bag, which 
would otherwise have prevented his stooping, (for he was a cor- 
pulent man), he placed it upon a neighbouring post, and then 
proceeded to adjust his buckle. This done, he went quietly on 
to market, thinking nothing of the purse or its contents until 
some time afterwards, when, having to pay for a heavy purchase, 
he missed it, and after some consideration recollected the place 
where he had left it. He hurried to the spot. Although more 
than three quarters of an hour had elapsed since he_ had left it 
in the prominent situation already described, there it remained 
safe and untouched on the top of the post in the open street ! 

Tour anxious days (he had both money and a wife at stake) 
gassed heavily away, but on the fifth, Saturday a reply arrived 
irqm Mr. Hughes, which being probably one of the shortest 
epistles ever received through the hands of the general postman, 
is subjoined verbatim. 


" Expect to see me in a few days. 

"Yours truly, 

" E. HUGHES/' 

If there was nothing decidedly favourable to be drawn from 
this brief onorfeau, there was at least nothing very appalling to 
his hopes: it was evident that Mr. Hughes was not greatly 
offended at his presumption, and probable that he might be 
eventually induced to give his consent to Grimaldi's marriage 
with his daughter. This conclusion, to which he speedily came, 
tended greatly to elevate his spirits ; nor did they meet with any 
check from the sudden appearance of Miss Hughes from Graves- 

The meeting was a joyful one on both sides. As soon as their 
mutual greetings were over, he showed her her father's letter, 
of which she appeared to take but little notice. 

"Why, Maria!" he exclaimed, with some surprise, "you 
Scarcely look upon this letter, and seem to care little or nothing 1 
about it!" 

" To tell you the truth, Joe," answered Miss Hughes, smiling, 
"my father has already arrived in town : I found him at home 
when I got there two or three hours back, and he desired me to 
tell you that he wishes to see you on Monday morning 1 , if you 
will call at the theatre." 

* The slaughterman and carcase-butcher of Bloomsbury, and Newton-street, 


Cpon hearing this, all the old nervous symptoms returned, 
and he felt as though he were about to receive a hnal death-blow 
to his hopes. 

"You may venture to take courage, I think," said Miss 
Hughes ; "L have very little fear or doubt upon the subject." 

Her admirer had a good deal of both ; but he was somewhat 
re-assured by the young lady's manner, and her conviction that 
her father, who had always treated her most kindly and indul- 
gently, would not desert her then. Comforted by discussing the 
probabilities of success, and all the happiness that was to follow 
it, they spent the remainder of the clay happily enough, and 
looked forward as calmly as they could to the Monday which 
was to decide their fate. 

The following ^ day Sunday was rather a wearisome one, 
being occupied with speculations as to what the morrow would 
bring forth. , However, long as it seemed, the night arrived at 
last ; and though that was long too, Monday morning succeeded 
it as usual- 
Concealing his inward agitation as best he might, he walked 
to the theatre, and there in the treasury found Mr. Hughes. 
He was received very kindly, but, after some trivial conver- 
sation, was much astonished by Mr. Hughes saying, " So you 
are going to leave Sadler's Wells, and all your old Mends, merely 
because you can get a trifle more elsewhere, eh, Joe ?" 

He was so amazed at this, he could scarcely speak, but quickly 
recovering, said, " I can assure you, sir, that no such idea ever 
entered my head ; in fact, even if I wished such a thing, which, 
Heaven knows, is furthest from my thoughts ! I could not do 
so, being- under articles to you." 

" You forget," replied Mr. Hughes, somewhat sternly, "your 
articles have expired here." 

And so they had, and so he had forgotten, and so he was con- 
strained to confess. 

" It is rather odd," continued Mr. Hughes, " that so impor- 
tant a circumstance should have escaped your memory : but 
tell me, do you know Mr. Cross ? " 

Mr. Cross was manager of the Circus, now the Surrey Theatre, 
and had repeatedly made Grimaldi offers to leave Sadler's 
Wells, and join his company. He had done so, indeed, only a 
few days prior to this conversation, offering to allow him to 
name his own terms. But these and other similar invitations 
he had firmly declined, being unwilling for many reasons to 
leave the theatre to which he had been accustomed all his life. 

From this observation of Mr. Hughes, and the manner in 
which it was made, it was obvious to him that some one had 
endeavoured to injure him in that gentleman's opinion; and 
fortunately chancing to have in his pocket-book the letters he 
had received from Mr. Cross, and copies of his own replies, he 
lost no time in clearing himself of the charge. 

" My dear sir," he said, " I do not know Mr. Cross personally, 


but very well as a correspondent, inasmuch as lie has repeatedly 
written, offering engagements to me, all of which I have de- 
clined ;" and he placed the papers before him. 

The perusal of these letters seemed to satisfy Mr. Hughes, 
who returned them, and said smilingly, "Well then, we'll talk 
about a fresh engagement here, as you prefer old quarters. Let 
me see : your salary is now four pounds per week : well, I will 
engage you for three seasons, and the terms shall be these : for 
the first season, six pounds per week ; for the second, seven ; and 
for the third, eight. Will that do ? " 

He readily agreed to a proposition which, handsome in itself, 
greatly exceeded anything he had anticipated. As Mr. Hughes 
seemed anxious to have the affair settled, and Grimaldiwas 
perfectly content that it should be, two witnesses were sent for, 
and the articles were drawn up, and signed upon the spot. 

Then again they were left alone, and after a few moments 
more of desultory conversation, Mr. Hughes rose, saying, " I 
shall see you, I suppose, in the evening, as I am going to Drury 
Lane to see Blue Beard." He advanced towards the door as he 
spoke, and then suddenly turning round, added, "Have you 
anything else to say to me ?" 

Now was the time, or never. Screwing his courage to the 
sticking-place, Grimaldi proceeded to place before Mr. Hughes 
his hopes and prospects, strongly urging that his own happiness 
and that of his daughter depended upon his consent being given 
to their marriage. 

Mr. Hughes had thought over the subject well, and displayed 
by no means that displeasure which the young man's anxious 
fears had prophesied ; he urged the youth of both parties as an 
argument against acceding to their wishes, but finally gave his 
consent, and by so doing transported the lover with joy. 

Mr. Hughes advanced to the door of the room, and throwing 
it open, as he went out, said to his daughter, who chanced to be 
sitting in the next room, " Maria, Joe is here : you had better 
come and welcome him." 

Miss Hughes came like a dutiful daughter, and did welcome 
her faithful admirer, as he well deserved for his true-hearted and 
constant affection. In the happiness of the moment, the fact 
that the door of the room was standing wide open quite escaped 
the notice of both, who never once recollected the possibility 
of any third person being an unseen witness to the interview. 

This was a red-letter day in Grimaldi's calendar; he had 
nothing to do in the evening at Drury Lane until the last scene 
but one of Blue Beard, so went shopping with his future wife, 
buying divers articles of plate, and such other small wares as 
young housekeepers require. 

On hurrying to the theatre at night, he found Mr. Hughes 
anxiously regarding the machinery of the last scene in Blue 
Beard, wnich he was about getting up at the Exeter Theatre. 


" This machinery is very intricate, Joe," said the father-in- 
law upon seeing him. 

" You are right, sir," replied Joe ; " and, what is more, it 
works very badly." 

" So I should expect," was the reply ; " and as I am afraid 
we shall not manage this very well in the country, I wish I 
could improve it." 

Among the numerous modes of employing any spare time to 
which Grimaldi resorted for the improvement of a vacant hour, 
the invention of model transformations and pantomime tricks 
held a foremost place at that time, and did, though in a limited 
degree, to the close of his life. 

At the time of his death he had many excellent models of this 
description, besides several which he sold to Mr. Bunn so re- 
cently as a few months prior to December, 1836, all of which 
were used in the pantomime of " Harlequin and Gammer 
Gurton," produced at Drury Lane on the 26th of that month. 
He rarely allowed any machinery which came under his 
notice, especially if a little peculiar, to pass without modelling 
it upon a small scale. He had a complete model of the skele- 
ton " business" in Blue Beard ; and not merely that, but an im- 
provement of his own besides, by which the intricate nature of 
the change might be avoided, and many useless Haps dispensed 

Nervously anxious to elevate himself as much as possible in 
the opinion of Mr. Hughes at this particular juncture, he 
eagerly explained to him the nature of his alterations, as far as 
the models were concerned, and plainly perceived he was agree- 
ably surprised at the communication. He begged his acceptance 
of models, both of the original mechanism, and of his o\yn 
improved version of it ; and Mr. Hughes, in reply, invited him 
to breakfast on the following morning, and requested him to 
bring both models with him, This he failed not to do. It hap- 
pened that a rather ludicrous scene awaited him. 

He had one or two enemies connected at that time with 
Sadler's Wells, who allowed their professional envy to impel 
them to divers acts of small malignity. One of these persons, 
having been told of his saluting Miss Hughes, by a servant girl 
with whom he chanced to be acquainted, and who had witnessed 
the action, sought and obtained an interview that evening with 
the father upon his return from Drury Lane, and stated the 
circumstance to him, enlarging and embellishing the details with 
divers comments upon the ingratitude of Grimaldi in seducing 
the affections of a young lady so much above him, and making 
various wise and touching reflections most in vogue on such 

Mr. Hughes heard all this with a calmness which first of all 
astonished the speaker, but which he eventually attributed tu 
concentrated rage. After he had finished his speech, the former 


quietly said, ""Will you favour me by coming here at nine 
o'clock to-morrow morning, sir ?" 

" Most certainly," was the reply. 

" Allow me, however, at once," continued Mr. Hughes, " to 
express my thanks for your kindness in informing me of that 
which so nearly concerns my domestic happiness. "Will you 
take a glass of madeira ?" 

"I thank you, sir," answered the other. 

The wine was brought and drunk, and the friend departed, 
congratulating himself, as he walked away, upon having 
" settled Joe's business ;" which indeed he had, but not after the 
fashion he expected or intended. 

As to Grimaldi, he was up with the lark, arranging the 
machinery and making it look and work to the best advantage ; 
in which having succeed id to his heart's content, he put the 
models he had promised Mr. Hughes into his pocket, and walked 
down to his house to breakfast, agreeably to the arrangement of 
the night before. , 

Upon his arrival, he was told that breakfast was not quite 
ready, and likewise that Mr. Hughes wished to see him imme- 
diately in the treasury, where he was then awaiting his arrival. 
There was something in the manner of the servant- girl (the 
same, by-the-by, who had told of the kissing), as she said this, 
which induced him involuntarily to fear some ill, and, without 
knowing exactly why, he began to apprehend those thousand 
and one impossible, or at least improbable, evils, the dread of 
which torments the man nervously afraid of losing some treasure 

" Is Mr. Hughes alone ?" he asked. 

"No, sir," answered the girl: "there is a gentleman with 
him ;" and then she mentioned a name which increased his 
apprehensions. However, plucking up all his courage, he ad- 
vanced to the appointed chamber, and in two minutes found 
himself in the presence of Mr. Hughes and his accuser. 

The former received him coldly ; the latter turned away when 
he saw him, without vouchsafing a word. 

" Come in, sir," said Mr. Hughes, " and close the door after 
you." He did as he was told ; never, either before or after- 
wards, feeling so strangely like a criminal. 

"Mr. Grimaldi,'^ continued Mr. Hughes, with a mingled for- 
mality and solemnity which appalled him, "I have something 
very important to communicate to you in fact, I have had 
a charge preferred against you of a most serious description, 

" Indeed, sir !" 

" Yes, indeed, sir !" said the enemy, with a look very like one 
ot triumph. 

" It is true," replied Mr. Hughes, " and I fear you will not be 
able to clear yourself from it : however, in justice to you, the 


charge shall be fully stated in your own presence. Repeat, sir, 
if you please," he continued, addressing the accuser, " what you 
told me last night." 

And repeat it he did, in a speech, replete with malignity, and 
not destitute of oratorical merit : in which he dwelt upon the 
serpent-like duplicity with which young Grimaldi had stolen 
into the bosom of a happy and hospitable family for the purpose 
of robbing a father and mother of their beloved daughter, and 
dragging down from her own respectable sphere a young and 
inexperienced girl, to visit her with all the sorrows consequent 
upon limited means, and the needy home of a struggling actor. 

It was with inexpressible astonishment that he heard all this ; 
but still greater was his astonishment at witnessing the de- 
meanour of Mr. Hughes, who heard this lengthened oration with 
a settled frown of attention, as though what he heard alike 
excited his profound consideration and anger ; occasionally, too, 
vouchsafing an encouraging nod to the speaker, which was any- 
thing but encouraging to the other party. 

"You are quite right," said Mr. Hughes, at length; on 
hearing which, Grimaldi felt quite wrong. " You are quite 
right nothing can justify such actions, except one thing, and 
that is " 

"Mr. Hughes," interrupted the friend, "I know your kind 
heart well, so well, that I can perceive your charitable feelings 
are even now striving to discover some excuse or palliation for 
this offence ; but permit me, as a disinterested observer, to tell 
you that nothing can justify a man in winning the affections of 
a young girl infinitely above him, and, at the same time, the 
daughter of one to whom he is so greatly indebted." 

"Will you listen to me for half a minute?" inquired Mr. 
Hughes, in a peculiarly calm tone. 

" Certainly, sir," answered the other. 

" "Well, then, I was going to observe, at the moment when you 
somewhat rudely interrupted me, that I quite agreed with you, 
and that nothing can justify a man in acting in the manner you 
have described, unless, indeed, he has obtained the sanction of 
the young lady's parents ; in which case, he is, of course, at 
liberty to win her affections as soon as he likes, and she likes to 
let him." 

"Assuredly, sir," responded the other; "but in the present 

" But in the present instance," interrupted Mr. Hughes, 
" that happens to be the case. My daughter Maria has my full 
permission to marry Mr. Grimaldi ; and I have no doubt she 
will avail herself of that permission in the course of a very few 

The accuser was dumb-foundered, and Grimaldi was delighted 
now, for the first time perceiving that Mr. Hughes had been 
amusing himself at the expense of the mischief-maker. 


"Nevertheless," said Mr. Hughes, turning to his accepted 
son-in-law with a grave face, but through all the gravity of 
which he could perceive a struggling smile, "Nevertheless, 
you acted very wrong, Mr. Grimaldi, in kissing my daughter so 
publicly ; and I beg that whenever, for the future, you and she 
deem it essential to indulge in such amusements, it may be done 
in private. This is rendered necessary by the laws which at 
present govern society, and I am certain will be far more con- 
sonant to the feelings and delicacy of the young lady in ques- 

With these words Mr. Hughes made a low bow to the officious 
and disinterested individual who had made the speech, and, 
opening the door, called to the servants "to show the gentleman 
out." Then turning to Grimaldi, he took him by the arm, and 
walked towards the breakfast-room, declaring that the meal had 
been waiting half an hour or more, that the coffee would be 
cold, and Maria quite tired of waiting for him. 

From this moment the course of true love ran smooth for 
once : and Mr. Hughes, in all his subsequent behaviour to 
Grimaldi sufficiently evinced his high sense of the innate worth 
of a young man, who, under very adverse circumstances and 
with many temptations to contend against, had behaved with 
so much honesty and candour. 

On the Saturday after this pleasant termination of a scene 
which threatened to be attended with very different results, the 
house in Penton-street was taken possession of, and next Easter 
Sunday the young couple were asked in church for the iirst 
time. Sadler's Wells opened as usual on Easter Monday,* and 
Grimaldi appeared in a new part, a more prominent one than 

Sadler's Wells, on Easter Monday, April 9, 1798, opened with a Prelude, 
entitled, " Easter Monday ; or, a Peep at the Wells." The prolocutory cha- 
racters by Dubois and Mrs. Davis : m the concluding scene were introduced 
the whole Company, and a Ballet Divertissement ; the dances by the Missea 
Bruguiers, their first appearances, and by Mr. King, who, it will be remembered, 
in the recital of the alarm created by the Pentonville robbers, is said, "while 
armed with a heavy stick, to have crept cautiously into the back garden, groped 
about, and soon returned out of breath." The amusements of the evenine con- 

our. j^aviB, nu jjur. JLTUDOIS, .miss uruguier, ana Mrs. Jtoney. Joe lor the first 
time, on the bill of the day, has the honourable distinction of Mr. prefixed to his 
name ; hitherto it was " Master Grimaldi." On Monday, July 30, was produced 
a new Grand Comic Spectacle and Harlequinade, called " Blue Beard, Black 
Beard, Bed Beard, and Grey Beard ;" in which the motley hero of Pantomime, 
it was announced, would respectfully endeavour to keep up the spirit of the old 
English adage, 

" 'Tis merry in Hall, when Beards wag all," 

in the novel character of Harlequin Dutch Skipper. Harlequin Skipper, Mr. 
King; Plutus, Blue Beard, Mr. Barnett; Mars, Black Beard, Mr. Davis; 
Saturn, Grey Beard, Mr. Grimaldi ; Mynheer Eed Beard, Mr. Gomery ; Dutch 
Clown, Mr. Dubois ; and Columbine, Miss Bruguier. The Pantomime was 
highly attractive, and exhibited, amongst other excellent scenes, one in moving 
perspective, showing the effect of a balloon descending among the clouds 


he had yet had, and one which increased his reputation con- 

At this time, in consequence of his great exertions in this 
character, after four or five months of comparative rest, he began 
to feel some of those wastings of strength and prostrations of 
energy, to which this class of performers are more peculiarly 
exposed, and which leave them, if they attain old age, as they 
left Grimaldi himself, in a state of great bodily infirmity and 
suffering. He was cheered throughout the play ; but the 
applause of the audience only spirited him to increased exer- 
tions, and at the close of the performances he was so exhausted 
and worn out that he could scarcely stand. It was with great 
difficulty that he reached his home, although the distance was 
so very slight ; and immediately on doing so, he was obliged to 
be put to bed. 

He was wont in after-life frequently to remark, that if at one 
period of his career his gains were great, his labours were at 
least equally so, and deserved the return. He spoke from sad 
experience of their effects at that time, and he spoke the truth. 
It must be a very high salary, indeed, that could ever repay a 
man and especially a feeling, sensitive man, as Grimaldi 
really was for premature old age and early decay. 

He awoke at eleven o'clock next day invigorated and re- 
freshed ; this long rest was an extraordinary indulgence for 
him to take, for it was his constant habit to be up and clressed 
by seven o'clock or earlier, either attending to his pigeons, 
practising the violin, occupying himself in constructing such 
little models as have been before mentioned, or employing him- 
self in some way. Idleness wearied him more than labour ; he 
never could understand the gratification which many people 
seem to derive from having nothing to do. 

It is customary on the morning after a new piece to " call " it 
upon the stage with a view_ of condensing it where it will admit 
of condensation, and making such improvements as the expe- 
rience of one night may have suggested. All the performers 
engaged in the piece of course attend these " calls," as any 
alterations will necessarily affect the dialogue of their parts, or 
some portions of the stage business connected with them. 

Being one of the principal actors in the new drama, it was 
indispensably necessary that he should attend, and accordingly, 
much mortified at finding it so late, he dressed with all possible 
despatch, and set forth towards the theatre. 




Tribulations connected with "Old Lucas," the constable, with an account of the 
subsequent proceedings before Mr. Blamire, the magistrate, at Hatton 
Garden, and the mysterious appearance of a silver staff A guinea wager 
with a jocose friend on the Dartford-road The Prince of "Wales, Sheridan, 
and the Crockery Girl. 

AT this time all the ground upon which Claremont, Myddle- 
ton, Lloyd, and Wilmington Squares have since been built, 
together with the numberless streets which diverge from them 
in all directions, was then pasture-land or garden-ground, bear- 
ing the name of Sadler's Wells Fields. Across these fields it was 
of course necessary that Grimaldi should pass and repass in 
going to and returning from the theatre. Upon this particular 
morning, a mob, consisting of at least a thousand persons, were 
actively engaged here in hunting an over- driven ox, a diver- 
sion then in very high repute among the lower orders _ of the 
metropolis, but which is now, happily for the lives and limbs of 
the more peaceable part of the community, falling into desue- 
tude : there not being^ quite so many open spaces or waste 
grounds to chase oxen in, as there used to be a quarter of a cen- 
tury ago. The mob was a very dense one, comprised of the 
worst characters ; and perceiving that it would be a task of 
some difficulty to clear a passage through it, he paused for a 
minute or two, deliberating whether he had not better turn 
back at once and take the longer but less obstructed route by 
the Angel at Islington, when a young gentleman whom he had 
never seen beforej after eyeing him with some curiosity, walked 
up and said 

" Is not your name Grimaldi, sir?" 

"Yes, sir, it is," replied the other. "Pray, may I inquire 
why you ask the question ?" 

"Because," answered the stranger, pointing to a man who 
stood among a little group of people hard by, " because I just 
now heard that gentleman mention it to a companion." 

The person whom the young man pointed out was a very well 
known character about Clerkenwell and its vicinity, being an 
object of detestation with the whole of the neighbourhood. _ This 
man was Lucas, "Old Lucas" was his familiar appellation, 
and he filled the imposing office of parish constable. Parish 
constables are seldom very popular in their own districts, but 


Old Lucas was more unpopular than any man of the same class ; 
and if the stories which are current of him be correct, with very 
good reason, unless the man was dreadfully belied. In short, 
he was a desperate villain. It was very generally understood of 
him, that where no real accusation existed against a man, 
his course of proceeding was to invent a false one, and to bolster 
it up with the most unblushing perjury, and an _ ingenious 
system of false evidence, which he had never any difficulty in 
obtaining, for the purpose of pocketing certain small sums which, 
under the title of " expenses," were paid upon the conviction of 
the culprit. 

Being well acquainted with this man's reputation, Grimaldi 
was much astonished, and not at all pleasantly so, by the infor- 
mation he had just received ; and he inquired with considerable 
anxiety and apprehension, whether the young man was quite 
certain that it was his name which the constable had mentioned. 

" Quite certain," was the reply. " I can't have made any 
mistake upon the subject, because he wrote it down in his book. ' 

" Wrote it down in his book !" exclaimed Grimaldi. 

" Yes, he did, indeed," replied the other : " and more than 
that, I heard him say to another man beside him, that * he could 
lay hold of you whenever he wanted you.' " 

" The devil he did !" exclaimed Grimaldi. " What on earth 
can he want with me ? Well, sir, at all events I have to thank 
you for your kindness in informing me, although I am not much 
wiser on the point than I was before." 

Exchanging bows with the stranger, they separated ; the 
young man mixing with the crowd, and Grimaldi turning back, 
and going to the theatre by the longest road, with the double 
object of avoiding Old Lucas and keeping out of the way of the 
mad ox. 

Having to attend to his business immediately on his arrival 
at the theatre, the circumstance escaped his memory, nor did it 
occur to him again until he returned thither in the evening, 
shortly before the performances commenced, when being re- 
minded of it by some accidental occurrence, he related the morn- 
ing's conversation to some of his more immediate associates, 
among whom were Dubois, a celebrated comic actor, another 
performer of the name of Davis, and Richer, a very renowned 
rope-dancer. His communication, however, elicited no more 
sympathetic reception than a general burst of laughter, which 
having subsided, they fell to bantering the unfortunate object of 
Old Lucas's machinations. 

" That fellow Lucas," said Dubois, assuming a grave face, " is 
a most confirmed scoundrel; he would stick at nothing, not 
even at Joe's life, to gain a few pounds, or perhaps even a few 

Joe looked none the happier for this observation, and another 
friend took up the subject. 


"Lucas, Lucas," said Richer; "that is the old man who 
wears spectacles, isn't it ?" 

" That's the man," replied Dubois ; " the constable, you know. 
He hasn't written your name down in his book for nothing, Joe, 
take my word for that." 

" Precisely my opinion," said Davis; "he means to make a 
regular property out of him. Don't be frightened, Joe, that's all." 

These prophetic warnings had a very serious effect upon the 

with which the officer meant to charge him; one suggesting 
that it was murder, another that he thought it was forgery, 
(which made no great difference in the end, the offence being 
punished with the same penalty,) and a third good-naturedly 
remarking that perhaps it might not be quite so bad, after all, 
although certainly Lucas did possess such weight with the 
magistrates, that it was invariably two to one against the unfor- 
tunate person whom he charged with any offence. 

Although he was at no loss to discern and appreciate the 
raillery of his friends, Grimaldi could not divest himself of some 
nervous apprehensions connected with the adventure of the 
morning : when, just as he was revolving in his mind all the im- 
probabilities of the officer's entertaining any designs against 
him, one of the messengers of the theatre abruptly entered the 
room in which they were all seated, and announced that Mr. 
Grimaldi was wanted directly at the stage-door. 

" Who wants me ?" inquired Grimaldi, turning rather pale. 

" It's a person in spectacles," replied the messenger, looking 
at the rest of the company, and hesitating. 

" A person in spectacles !" echoed the other, more agitated than 
before. " Did he give you his name, or do you know who he is ' 

" yes, I know who he is," answered the messenger^ with 
something between a smile and a gasp : " it's Old Lucas." 

Upon this, there arose a roar of laughter, in which the mes- 
senger joined. Grimaldi was quite petrified, and stood rooted 
to the spot, looking from one to another with a face in which 
dismay and fear were visibly depicted. 

Having exhausted themselves with laughing, his companions, 
regarding his unhappy face, began to grow serious, and Dubois 

"Joe, my boy, a joke's a joke, you know. We have had one 
with you, and that was all fair enough, and it's all over ; but if 
there is anything really serious in this matter, we will prove 
ourselves your friends, and support you against this old rascal 
in any way in our power." 

All the others said something of the same sort, for which 
Grimaldi thanked them very heartily, being really in a state 
of great discomfort, and entertaining many dismal forebodings 


It was then proposed that everybody present should accompany 
him in a body to the stage-door, and be witnesses to anything that 
the thief- taker had to say or do ; it being determined beforehand 
that in the event of his being insolent, he should be summarily 
put into the New Eiver. Accordingly, they went down in a 
body, bearing Joe in the centre ; and sure enough at the door 
stood Old Lucas in proprid persona. 

" Now, then, what's the matter ?" said the leader of the guard ; 
upon which Grimaldi summoned up courage, and echoing the 
inquiry, said, " What's the matter ?" too. 

" You must come with me to Hatton Garden," said the con- 
stable, in a gruff voice. " Come, I can't afford to lose any more 

Here arose a great outcry, mingled with various exclamations 
of, " Where's your warrant ?" and many consignments of Mr. 
Lucas to the warmest of all known regions. 

" Where's your warrant ?" cried Davis, when the noise had in 
some measure subsided. 

The officer deigned no direct reply to this inquiry, but looking 
at Grimaldi, demanded whether he was ready; in answer to 
which question the whole party shouted " No !" with tremendous 

" Look here, Lucas," said Dubois, stepping forward ; " you are 
an old scoundrel ! no one knows that oetter, or perhaps could 
prove it easier, than I. Now, so far as concerns Mr. Grimaldi, 
all we have got to say is, either show us a warrant which autho- 
rizes you to take him into custody, or take yourself into custody 
and take yourself off under penalty of a ducking. 

This speech was received with a shout of applause, not only 
by the speaker's companions, but by several idlers who had 
gathered round. 

" I'm not a-talking to you, Mr. Dubois," said Lucas, as soon 
as he could make himself heard; "Mr. Grimaldi's my man. 
Now, sir, will you come along with me ?" 

' Not without a warrant," said the rope-dancer. 

1 Not without a warrant," added Davis. 

' Not upon any consideration whatever," said Dubois. 

1 Don't attempt to touch him without a warrant ; or " 

' Or what ?" inquired Lucas ; " or what, Mr. Dubois ? eh, sir !" 

The answer was lost in a general chorus of " The Eiver !" 

This intimation, pronounced in a very determined manner, 
had a visible effect upon the officer, who at once assuming a 
more subdued tone, said, 

" Fact is, that I've not got a warrant ; (a shout of derision ;) 
fact is, it's not often that I'm asked for warrants, because people 
generally knows that I'm in authority, and thinks that's suffi 
cient. (Another.) However, if Mr. Grimaldi and his frienda 
press the objection, I shall not urge his going with me now, pro- 
vided he promises and they promises on his behalf to attend at 


Hatton Garden Office, afore Mr. Blamire, at eleven o'clock to- 
Taorrow morning." 

This compromise was at once acceded to, and Old Lucas turned 
to go away ; but he did not entirely escape even upon this occa- 
sion, for while the above conversation was going: forward at the 
door, the muster of people collected around had increased to a 
pretty large concourse. The greater part of them knew by sight 
Doth Grimaldi and the constable ; and as the latter was about to 
depart, the lookers-on pressed round him, and a voice from the 
crowd cried out, "What's the matter, Joe?" 

" The matter is this, gentlemen," said Dubois, returning to 
the top of the steps, and speaking with great vehemence and 
gesticulation : " This rascal, gentlemen," pointing to the 
constable, " wants to drag Joe Grimaldi to prison, gentlemen." 

" What for ? what for ?" cried the crowd. 

"Tor doing nothing at all, gentlemen," replied the orator, 
who had reserved the loudest key of his voice for the concluding 

This announcement was at once received with a general yell, 
which caused the constable to quicken his pace very consider- 
ably. The mob quickened theirs also, and in a few seconds the 
whole area of Sadler's Wells yard rang with whoops and yells 
almost as loud as those which had assailed the ox in the morn- 
ing ; and Mr. Lucas made the best of his way to his dwelling, 
amidst a shower of _ mud, rotten apples, and other such missiles. 
The performances in the theatre went off as usual. After all 
was over, Grimaldi returEed home to supper, having been pre- 
viously assured by his friends that they would one and all 
accompany him to the Police-office in the_ morning, and having 
previously arranged so as to secure as a witness the young gen- 
tleman who had given the first information regarding the views 
and intentions of the worthy thief- taker. 

At the appointed hour, Grimaldi and his friends repaired to 
the Police-office, and were duly presented to Mr. Blamire, the 
sitting magistrate, who, having received them with much polite- 
ness, requested Old Lucas, who was then and there in attendance, 
to state Ms case, which he forthwith proceeded to do. 

He deposed, with great steadiness of nerve, that Joseph 
Grimaldi had been guilty of hunting, and inciting and inducing 
other persons to hunt, an over-driven ox, in the fields of Pen- 
tonville, much to the hazard and danger of his Majesty's sub- 
jects, much to the worry and irritation of the animal, and greatly 
to the hazard of his being lashed into a state of furious insanity. 
Mr. Lucas deposed to having seen with his own eyes the offence 
committed, and in corroboration of his eyesight produced Ms 
companions of the morning, who confirmed his evidence in every 
particular. This, Mr. Lucas said, was his case. 

The accused being called upon for his defence, stated the cir- 
cumstances as they had actually occurred, and produced his 


young: acquaintance, who, as it appeared, was the son of a most 
respectable gentleman in the neighbourhood. The young gen- 
tleman confirmed the account of the affair which had been given 
last ; deposed to the accused not having been in the field more 
than two or three minutes altogether ; to his never having been 
near the ox-hunters ; and to his haying gone to the theatre by a 
route much longer than his ordinary one, for the express 
purpose of avoiding the ox and his hunters, Mr. Lucas and his 

The magistrate heard all this conflicting evidence upon an 
apparently very unimportant question, with a great deal more 
patience and coolness than some of his successors have been 
in the habit of displaying ; and after hearing it, and various 
audible and unreserved expressions of opinions from. Mr. Dubois, 
and others, touching the respectability and probity of Lucas, 
turned to the accused, and said 

" Mr. Grimaldi, I entirely believe your version of the affair to 
be the correct and true one ; but I am bound to act upon the 
deposition of this constable and his witnesses, and accordingly 
I must, however unwillingly, convict you in some penalty. ^ I 
shall take care, though, that your punishment is one which 
shall neither be heavy to you nor serviceable to the com- 
plainant. I hereby order you to pay a fine of five shillings, and 
to be discharged. As to you, Lucas, I would recommend you 
to be careful how you conduct yourself in future, and more 
especially to be careful as to the facts which you state upon 

After this decision, which his friends and himself looked upon 
as^ complete triumph, they bowed to the magistrate and 
quitted the Police-office, Grimaldi previously paying the five 
shillings which he had been fined, and an additional shilling for 
his discharge. It was then proposed and unanimously agreed 
that the party should adjourn to. a tavern,* called the King of 
Prussia (now bearing the sign of the Clown), opposite Sadler's 
Wells theatre, for the purpose of having some lunch ; and 
thither they proceeded, and made themselves very merry with 
the mortified looks of Old Lucas, mingling with their mirth some 
dry and abstruse speculations upon the nature of the laws which 
compelled a magistrate .to accept the oath of a reputed perjurer, 
and to convict upon it a person whom he conscientiously be- 
lieved to be innocent of the offence laid to his charge. 

While they were thus engaged, some person came running 
into the room, and, looking hastily round, cried, "Joe! Joe! 
here's Old Lucas again." The friends began to lau^h, and 
Grimaldi joined them, thinking that this was but a jest ; but he 
was greatly mistaken, for in less than a minute Lucas entered 
the room. 

" In St. John Street Road. 


" Why, Mister Constable !" exclaimed Dubois, rising angrily, 
"how dare you come here ?" 

" Because I have business," surlily replied Lucas. " HT. 
Grimaldi has been very properly convicted of an offence at the 
Police-office, and sentenced to pay a fine of five shillings, be- 
sides one shilling more for his discharge : neither of these sums 
has he paid, so he is still my prisoner." 

" Not paid ?" exclaimed the accused. " Why, I paid the six 
shillings before I left the office." 

This statement was corroborated by the friends,_ and the mute 
but eloquent testimony of his purse, which contained precisely 
that sum less than it had done an hour previously. 

"It's no use," said Lucas, grinning: "pay the money, or 
come on with me." 

" I have already paid all that was required, and I will 
neither give you another farthing, nor* allow myself to be made 
prisoner," was the reply. 

"We'll see that," responded the constable, advancing. 

" Take care," said Grimaldi, warningly ; " venture to touch 
me, and to the ground you go !" 

Not a bit daunted, Old Lucas darted upon him, dragged him 
from his seat, and attempted to force him towards the door ; in 
doing which he managed to tear his waistcoat and shirt-collar 
literally to ribands. Until then he had remained quite cool, 
merely acting upon the defensive ; but now he gave way to his 
rage, and fulfilled his threat to the letter by giving him a blow 
which felled him to the ground, and caused his nose to bleed in 
a manner neither sentimental nor picturesque. 

He, however, immediately rose again, ana producing his staff, 
was about, thus strengthened, to renew the combat, when a 
gentleman who chanced to be sitting in the room, a stranger to 
the party, rose, and drawing from his pocket a silver staff, shook 
it at Lucas, and said, " I will have no more of this violence ! 
Let all parties adjourn to the Police-office ; and if Mr. Grimaldi's 
tale be true, and your purpose be merely that of endeavouring 
to extort money, as I have no doubt it is, I will take care that 
things be laid properly before the magistrate." 

Lucas, who appeared to succumb before the vision of the silver 
staff, surlily assented, and they all presently presented them- 
selves for the_second time^that day before Mr. Blamire, who was 
greatly astonished at their reappearance, and greatly surprised 
t the altered appearance of Old Lucas's face. The magistrate, 
moreover, seemed to know the silver- staffed gentleman very 
well, and greeted him cordially. 

" Well," said Mr. Blamire, after the bustle of entrance had 
ceased, " what's the matter, now ? Speak, you, Lucas !" 

" Your worship," said the person called upon, " Mr. Grimaldi 
was fined five shillings just now, and had to pay one for his 
discharge, all of which he left the office without doing." 


"Indeed! is that truer" inquired the magistrate of the 
clerk, in an under tone. 

" No, sir," replied the latter, with a slight but meaning smile. 

" Go on, sir," said Mr. Blamire, addressing Lucas. 

Lucas was a little abashed at the " aside confab between the 
magistrate and his clerk ; but, affecting not to hear it, he con- 
tinued, " Of course, therefore, he still remained my prisoner ; 
and I followed him, and insisted upon his paying the money. 
This he refused : I therefore collared him, for the purpose of 
making him return here, and in so doing I tore his shirt and 
waistcoat. The moment he perceived I had done so, he " 

Lucas paused for an instant, and Mr. Blamire lilled up the 
sentence by saying 

" He gave you a blow on the nose ?" 

" Exactly so, sir," said Lucas, eagerly. 

" And very well you merited it," added the magistrate, in a 
tone which caused a general roar of laughter. " Well, Mr. 
Grimaldi, let us hear what you ^have to say." 

He briefly recounted the circumstances; and when he had 
finished, the unknown with the silver staff advanced and corro- 
borated the statement, making several severe remarks upon the 
private intentions and violent manner of Lucas. 

" Who," says Grimaldi, with profound respect and an air of 
great mystery, "Who this gentleman was, I never could 
ascertain ; but that he was a person possessing a somewhat high 
degree of authority was evident to me from the great respect 
paid to him at the Police-office. Some one afterwards told me 
he was a city marshal, possessing power to exercise his authority 
without the city ; but I know not whether he was so or not." 

After this disguised potentate had given his testimony, which 
rendered the matter conclusive, Mr. Blamire said, " Place 
Lucas at the bar ;" which being done, the magistrate proceeded 
to mulct him in a penalty of five pounds, the money to go to 
the poor of the parish, and likewise ordered him to make 
Grimaldi every necessary reparation and amendment for the 
results of his violence. 

On this sentence being pronounced, Old Lucas foamed at the 
mouth in a manner not unlike the over-driven ox, the original 
cause of his disaster, and protested, with many disrespectful oaths 
and other ebullitions of anger, that he would not pay one far- 
thing ; upon which the magistrate, nothing daunted, com- 
manded him to be locked up forthwith, which was done to the 
great delight and admiration, not only of the friends and other 
spectators, but of the officers also, who, besides being in duty 
bound to express their admiration of all the magistrate did, 
participated in the general dislike of Old Lucas, as the persons 
best acquainted with his perjury and villany. 

The friends once again bade the magistrate good morning, and 
soon afterwards dispersed to their several homes. They heard 


next day that Old Lucas, after having been under lock and key 
for six hours, the whole of which time he devoted to howls and 
imprecations, paid the fine. A few hours after he was set at 
liherty, he wrote a very penitent letter to Grimaldi, expressing 
his great regret for what had occurred, and his readiness to pay 
for the spoiled shirt and waistcoat, upon being made acquainted 
with the amount of damage done. _ Grimaldi thought it better 
to let the matter remain where it did, thinking that, setting the 
broken nose against the torn shirt and waistcoat, Lucas was 
already sufficiently punished. 

And after this, "Old Lucas " never did anything more terrible, 
connected with the Sadler's Wells company, at least, and, there 
is reason to believe, shortly afterwards lost his situation. 
Whether he did so or not is no great matter, further than that 
he appears to have been a most unfit personage to have been 
intrusted with any species of authority. 

Prom this time forward, for several months, all went merry as 
a marriage bell. On the 1 1th of May following the little adven- 
ture just recorded, the marriage bell went too, for he was 
married to Miss Maria Hughes, at St. George's, Hanover-square, 
with the full consent and approbation of the young lady's 
parents, and to the unbounded joy of his own mother, by whom 
she had been, from her earliest youth, beloved - as her daughter. 

Five days after the wedding, the young couple paid their first 
visit to Mr. and Mrs. Hughes. After sitting a short time, Grimaldi 
left his wife there and went to the theatre, where a rehearsal in 
which he was wanted had been called for that/morning. Upon 
entering the yard of Sadler's Wells, in which the different mem- 
bers of the company were strolling about_ until the rehearsal 
commenced, he was accosted by Richer, with, "Joe, may I in- 
quire the name of the lady with whom I saw you walking just 


" Nay, you need not ask him," cried Dubois ; " I can tell you. 
It was Miss Maria Hughes." 

" I beg your pardon," interrupted Grimaldi ; " that is not the 
lady's name." 

"No!" exclaimed Dubois. "Why, I could have sworn it 
was Miss Hughes." 

" You would have sworn wrong, then," replied he. " The 
lady's name was Hughes once, I grant ; but on Friday last I 
changed it to Grimaldi." 

His friends were greatly surprised at this intelligence ; but 
they lost no time in disseminating it throughout the theatre. 
Congratulations poured in upon him ; and so great was the 
excitement occasioned by the fact of " Joe Grimaloi's marriage" 
becoming known, that the manager, after vainly endeavouring 
to proceed with the rehearsal, gave up the task, and dismissed 
the company *or that morning. In the evening they had a 
supper at the theatre to commemorate the event ; and on the 


following Sunday, Joe gave a dinner to the cUrpenters of the 
theatre, for the same purpose. In the long-run all the members 
of the establishment, from the highest to the lowest, participated 
in the long-expected happiness of their single-hearted and good- 
natured comrade. 

In the summer of this year, he lost a guinea wager in a some- 
what ludicrous manner in a manner sufficiently ludicrous to 
justify in this place^the narration of the joke which gave rise to 
it. He was acquainted at that time with a very clever and 
popular writer, who happened to have occasion to pass through 
G-ravesend on the same day as Joe had to go there ; and, as they 
met shortly before, they agreed to travel in a post-chaise and 
share the expense between them. They arranged to start early 
in the morning, as Grimaldi had to play at Sadler's Wells at 
night, and did so. 

The journey was very pleasant, and the hours passed quickly 
away. His companion, who was a witty and humorous fellow, 
was in great force upon the occasion, and, exerting all his 
powers, kept him laughing without intermission. About three 
miles on the London side of Dartford, _the friend, whose buoyant 
and restless spirits prevented his sitting in any one position for 
a minute, began incessantly poking his head out of one or other 
of the chaise windows, and making various remarks on the 
landscape, and the persons or vehicles passing to and fro. 
While thus engaged, he happened to catch sight of a man on 
horseback, about a quarter of a mile behind, who was travelling 
in the same direction with themselves, and was coming up after 
the chaise at a rapid pace. 

" Look, ^ Joe !" he said; "see that fellow behind! Well 
mounted, is he not ?" 

Grimaldi looked back, and saw the man coming along at a 
fast trot. He was a stout, hearty fellow, dressed like a small 
farmer, as he very probably was, and was riding a strong horse, 
of superior make, good pace, and altogether an excellent roadster. 
" Yes, I see him," was his reply. " He's well enough, but I 
see nothing particular about him or the horse either." 

" Nor is there anything particular about either of them that 
I am aware of," answered his companion ; " but wouldn't you 
think, judging from the appearance of his nag, and the rate at 
which he is riding, that he would pass our chaise in a very short 
time ?" 

" Most unquestionably ; he will pass us in a few seconds." 

1 1*11 tell you what, Joe, I'll bet you a guinea he does not,* 
said the friend. 

' Nonsense !" 

' Well, will you take it ?" 

'No, no ; it would be robbing you." 

* Oh, leave me to judge about that," said the friend ; " I shall 
not consider it a robbery : and, so far from that, I'm willing to 


make the bet more in your favour. Come, I'll bet you a guinea, 
Joe, that that man don't pass our chaise between this and Dart- 

"Done!" said Grimaldi. well knowing that, unless some 
sudden and most unaccountable change took place in the pace at 
which the man was riding, he must pass in a minute or two 
" done !" 

"Very good," said the other. "Stop I forgot: remember 
that if you laugh or smile, so that he can see you, between this 
and Dartfbrd, you will have lost. Is that agreed ?" 

" Oh, certainly," replied Grimaldi, very much interested to 
know by what mode his friend proposed to win the wager, 
" certainly." 

He did not remain very long in expectation: vhe horseman drew 
nearer and nearer, and the noise of his horse's feet was heard 
close behind the chaise, when the friend, pulling a pistol from 
his pocket, suddenly thrust his head and shoulders out of the 
window and presented the pistol full at the face of the uncon- 
scious countryman, assuming at the same time a ferocious coun- 
tenance and menacing air which were perfectly alarming. 
Grimaldi was looking through the little window at thejback of 
the chaise, and was like to die with laughter when he witnessed 
the effect produced by this singular apparition. 

The countryman was coming along at the same hard trot, with 
a very serious and business-like countenance, when, all of a 
sudden, half a man and the whole of a pistol were presented 
from the chaise window ; which he no sooner beheld, than all at 
once he pulled up with a jerk which almost brought him into a 
ditch, and threw the horse upon his haunches. His red face 
grew very pale, but he had the presence of mind to pat his beast 
on the neck and soothe him in various ways, keeping his eyes 
fixed on the chaise all the time and looking greatly astonished. 
After a minute or so, he recovered himself, and, giving his horse 
the spur, and a smart cut in the flank with his riding-whip, 
dashed across the road, with the view of passing the chaise on 
the opposite side. The probability of this attempt had been fore- 
seen, however, by the other party, for with great agility he 
transferred himself to the other window, and, thrusting out the 
pistol with the same fierce and sanguinary countenance as before, 
again encountered the farmer's gaze ; upon which he Bulled up, 
with the same puzzled and frightened expression of counte- 
nance, and stared till his eyes seemed double their natural 

The scene became intensely droll. The countryman's horse 
stood stock still; but as the chaise rolled on, he gradually 
suffered him to fall into a gentle trot, and, with an appearance of 
deep perplexity, was evidently taking council with himself how 
to act. Grimaldi had laughed in a corner till he was quite ex- 
hausted, and seeing his guinea was fairly lost, determined to aid 



the joke. With, this view, he looked out of the vacant window, 
and, assuming an authoritative look, nodded confidentially to 
the horseman, and waved his hand as if warning him not to 
come too near, This caution the countryman received with 
much apparent earnestness, frequently nodding and waving his 
hand after the same manner, accompanying the pantomime with 
divers significant winks, to intimate that he understood the 
gentleman was insane, and that he had accidentally obtained pos- 
session of the dangerous weapon. Grimaldi humoured the notion 
of his being the keeper^ occasionally withdrawing his head from 
the window to indulge in peals of laughter. The friend, bating 
not an inch of his fierceness, kept the pistol pointed at the 
countryman ; and the countryman followed on behind at an easy 
pace on the opposite side of the road, continuing to exchange 
most expressive pantomime with one of its best professors^ and 
to reciprocate, as nearly as he could, all the nods and winks 
and shrugs with which Grimaldi affected to deplore the situation 
of his unhappy friend. And so they went into Dartford. When 
they reached the town, the friend resumed his seat, and Grimaldi 
paid the guinea. The instant the pistol barrel was withdrawn, 
the countryman set spurs to his horse, and scoured through 
the town to the great astonishment of its inhabitants, at full 

. The success of this guinea wager put the friend upon telling 
a story of a wager of Sheridan's which was much talked of at 
the time, and ran thus : 

George the Fourth, when Prince of Wales, used occasionally 
to spend certain hours of the day in gazing from the windows of 
a club-house in St. James's-street : of course he was always 
surrounded by some of his chosen companions, and among these 
Sheridan, who was then the Drur y Lane lessee, was ever first and 
foremost. The Prince and Sheridan in these idle moments had 
frequently remarked among the passers backwards and forwards, 
a young woman who regularly every day carried through the 
street a heavy load of crockery-ware, and who, the Prince 
frequently Remarked, must be possessed of very great strength 
and dexterity to be able to bear so heavy a burden with so much 
apparent ease, and to carry it in the midst of such a crowd of 
passengers without ever stumbling. 

One morning, as usual, she made her appearance in the street 
from Piccadilly, and Sheridan called the Prince's attention to 
the circumstance. 

" Here she is," said Sheridan. 

" Who r" inquired the Prince. 

"The crockery-girl," replied Sheridan; "and more heavily 
laden than ever." 

" Not more so than usual, I think," said the Prince. 

*' Pardon me, your Highness, I think I'm right. Oh, dear me, 
yes ! it's decidedly a larger basket, a much larger basket," 


replied Slieridan. " Grood God, she staggers under it ! All ! sltf 
ias recovered herself. Poor girl, poor girl !" 

The Prince had watched the girl very closely, but the symp- 
toms of exhaustion which Sheridan had so feelingly deplored 
were nevertheless quite invisible to him. 

" She will certainly fall," continued Sheridan, in a low 
abstracted tone; "that girl will fall down before she reaches 
this house." 

"Pooh, pooh! :> said the Prince. " She fall! nonsense! she 
is too well used to it." 

" She will," said Sheridan. 

" I'll bet you a cool hundred she does not," replied the Prince. 

" Done !" cried Sheridan. 

" Done !" repeated his Royal Highness. 

The point of the story is, that the girl did fall down just 
"before she reached the club-house. It was very likely an acci- 
dent, inasmuch as people seldom fall down on purpose, especially 
when they carry crockery ; but still there were not wanting some 
malicious persons who jpretended to trace the tumble to another 
source. At all events, it was a curious coincidence, and a strong 
proof of the accuracy of Sheridan's judgment in such matters, 
any way. 

The friend told this story while they^were changing horses, 
laughing very much when he had finished, as most people's 
friends do : and, as if it had only whetted his appetite for fun, 
at once looked out for another object on whom to exercise his 
turn for practical joking. The chaise, after moving very slowly 
for some yards, came to a dead stop behind some heavy waggons 
which obstructed the road. This stoppage chanced to occur 
directly opposite the principal inn, from one of the coffee-room 
windows of which, on the first floor, a gentleman was gazing 
into the street. He was a particularly tall, big man, wearing a 
military frock and immense mustachios, and eyeing the people 
below with an air of much dignity and grandeur. The jester's 
eyes no sooner fell upon this personage than he practised a 
variety of devices to attract his attention, such as coughing 
violently, sneezing, raising the window of the chaise and letting 
it fall again with a great noise, and tapping loudly at the door. 
At length he clapped his hands and accompanied the action with a 
shrill scream ; upon which the big man looked down from his ele- 
vation with a glare of profound scorn, mingled with some surprise. 
Their eyes no sooner met, than the man in the chaise assumed a 
most savage and unearthly expression of countenance, which 
gave him all the appearance of an infuriated maniac. After 
grimacing _ in a manner sufficiently uncouth to attract the sole 
and undivided attention of the big man, he suddenly produced 
the pistol from his pocket, and, pretending to take a most accu- 
rate aim at the warrior's person, cocked it and placed his hand 
upon the trigger. 


The big man's face grew instantly blanched ; he put his hands 
to his head, made a step, or rather stagger back, and instantly 
disappeared, having either fallen t or thrown himself upon the 
floor. The friend put his pistol in his pocket without the most 
remote approach to a smile or the slightest change of coun- 
tenance, and G-rimaldi sank down to the bottom of the chaise 
nearly suffocated with laughter. 

At Gravesend they parted, the friend going on in the same 
chaise to Dover, and Grimaldi, after transacting the business 
which brought him from town, returning to play at the theatre 
at night ; all recollection even of ^ the " Dartford Blues" fading 
as he passed through the town ill his way home, before the 
exploits of his merry friend, which afforded Mm matter for 
diversion until he reached London. 



1798 to 1801. 

Partiality of George the Third for Theatrical Entertainments Sheridan's kind- 
ness to Grimaldi His domestic affliction and severe distress The produc- 
tion of Harlequin Amulet a new era in Pantomime Pigeon-fancying and 
Wagering His first Provincial Excursion with Mrs. Baker, the eccentric 
Manageress John Kemble and Jew Davis, with a new reading Increased 
success at Maidstone and Canterbury Polite interview with John Kemble. 

THE summer passed pleasantly away, the whole of Grrimaldi's 
spare time being devoted to the society of his wife and her 
parents, until the departure of the latter from London for 
Weymouth, of which theatre Mr. Hughes was the proprietor. 
It is worthy of remark, as a proof of the pleasure which George 
the Third derived from theatrical entertainments, that when 
the court were at "Weymouth, he was in the habit of visiting_the 
theatre at least four times a week ; generally on such occasions 
commanding the performance, and taking with him a great 
number of the noblemen and ladies in his suite. 

Drury Lane opened for the season on the 15th of September, 
and Sadler's Wells closed ten days afterwards : but while the 
latter circumstance released Grimaldi from his arduous labours 
at one theatre, the former one did not tend to increase them at 
the other, for pantomime was again eschewed at Drury Lane, 
and "Blue Beard," "Feudal Times," and " Lodoiska" reigned 
paramount. At the commencement of the season he met Mr. 
Sheridan, when the following colloquy ensued : 

" WeU, Joe, stiU living eh ?" 

" Yes, sir ; and what's more, married as well." 

" Oho ! Pretty young woman, Joe ?" 

" Very pretty, sir." 

" That's right ^ You must lead a domestic life, Joe : nothing 
like a domestic life for happiness, Joe : I lead a domestic life 
myself." And then came one of those twinkling glances which 
no one who ever saw them can forget the humour of. 
' I mean to do so, sir." 

"Right. But, Joe, what will your poor little wife do while 
you are at the theatre of an evening ? Very bad thing, Joe, to 
let a pretty young wife be alone of a night. I'll manage it for 
you, Joe : I'll put her name down upon the free list; herself and 
friend. But, mind, it's a female friend, that's all, Joe ; any 
other might be dangerous, eh, Joe?" And away he went with- 


out pausing- for a moment to listen to Grimaldi's expressions of 
gratitude for his thoughtful kindness. However, he did not 
omit performing his friendly offer, and his wife, availing herself 
of it, went to the theatre almost every night he played, sat in 
the front of the house until he had finished, and then they went 
home together. 

In this pleasant and quiet manner the autumn and winter 
passed rapidly away. In the following year, 1799, it became 
apparent that his young wife would shortly make him a father ; 
and while this prospect increased the happiness and attention of 
her husband and parents, it added little to their slight stock 
of cares and troubles, for they were too happy and contented to 
entertain any other but cheerful anticipations of the result. 

There is little to induce one to dwell upon a sad and melan- 
choly chapter in the homely life of every-day. After many 
months of hope, and some of fear, and many lingering changes 
from better to worse, and back and back again, his dear wife, 
whom he had loved from a boy with so much truth and feeling, 
and whose excellences to the last moment of his life, many 
years afterwards, were the old man's fondest theme, died. 

" Poor Joe ! Oh, Richard, be kind to poor Joe !" were the 
last words she uttered. They were addressed to her brother. 
A few minutes afterwards, he sat beside a corpse. 

They found in her pocket-book a few pencilled lines, beneath 
which she had written her wish that when she died they might 
be inscribed above her grave : 

Earth walks on Earth like glittering gold | 
Earth says to Earth, We are but mould : 
Earth builds on Earth castles and towers ; 
Earth says to Earth, All shall be ours. 

They were placed upon the tablet erected to her memory. She 
died on the 18th of October, 1799, and was buried in the family 
vault of Mr. Hughes, at St. James's, Clerkenwell.* 

In the first passion of his grief the widower went distracted. 
Nothing but the constant attention and vigilance of his friends, 
who never left him alone, would have prevented his laying 
violent hands upon his life. There were none to console him, 
except with sympathy, for his friends were hers, and all mourned 
no common loss. 

Mr. Eichard Hughes, the brother, never forgot his sister's 
dying words, but proved himself under all circumstances and at 
all times Grimaldi's firm and steady friend. The poor fellow 

* Miss Maria Hughes, eldest daughter of Mr. Eichard Hughes, proprietor of 
one fourth of Sadler's Wells, of which theatre he was also the resident manager, 
was married to Joe in 1800, and on October 18, in the same year, died in child- 

birth, in the twenty-fifth year of her age. She was not interred in the family 
vault, but in the graveyard of St. James's 

ames's on Clovkenwell Green. 


haunted the scenes of his old hopes and happiness for two 
months, and was then summoned to the theatre to set the 
audience in a roar ; and chalking over the seams which mental 
agony had worn in his face, was hailed with boisterous applause 
in the merry Christmas pantomime ! 

The title of this pantomime, which was produced at Drury 
Lane, was, " Harlequin Amulet; or, the Magic of JVIona ;" it was 
written by Mr. Powell, and produced under the superintendence 
of Mr. James Byrne, the ballet-master. It was highly successful, 
running without intermission from the night of its production 
until Easter, 1800. This harlequinade was distinguished by 
several unusual features besides its great success; foremost 
among them was an entire change both in the conception of 
the character of Harlequin and in the costume. Before that 
time it had been customary to attire the Harlequin in a loose 
jacket and trousers, and it had been considered indispensable 
that he should be perpetually attitudinizing in five positions, and 
doing nothing else but passing instantaneously from one to the 
other, and never pausing without being in one of the five. All 
these conventional notions were abolished by Byrne, who this 
year made his first appearance as Harlequin }> and made Har- 
lequin a very original person to the play-going public. His 
attitudes and jumps were all new, and his dress was infinitely 
improved: the latter consisted of a white silk shape, fitting 
without a wrinkle, and into which the variegated silk patches 
were woven, the whole being profusely covered with spangles, 
and presenting a very sparkling appearance. The innovation 
was not > resisted^ the applause was enthiisiastic ; "nor," says 
Orimaldi, " was it undeserved ; for, in my judgment, Mr. James 
Byrne* was at that time the best Harlequin on the boards, and 
never has been excelled, even if equalled, since that period." 

The alteration soon became general, and has proved a lasting 
one, Harlequin having been ever since attired as upon this 
memorable occasion, in accordance with the improved taste of 
his then representative. 

Grimaldi's part in this production was a singularly arduous 
and wearying one : he had to perform Punch, and to change 
afterwards to Clown. He was so exceedingly successful in the 
first-mentioned part, that Mr. Sheridan wished him to preserve 
the character throughout, a suggestion which he was compelled 
resolutely to oppose. His reason for doing so will not be con- 
sidered extraordinary, when we inform the present generation 
that his personal decorations consisted of a large and heavy 

* Mr. James Byrne, father of Mr. Oscar Byrne, was one of the ballet at Drury 
lane in Garrick's time.; and was also employed at Sadler's Wells in the seasons 
of 1775 and 1776. He died December 4, 1845, in the eighty-ninth year of his 
age. Mrs. Byrne, whom many may yet remember at Covent Garden Theatre, 
died a few months before her husband, on August 27, in her seventy-fourth 


Jiump on liis chest, and a ditto, ditto, on his back ; a high sugar- 
foaf cap, a long-nosed mask, and heavy wooden shoes; the 
freight of the whole dress, and of the humps, nose, and shoes 
^specially, being exceedingly great. Having to exercise all his 
strength in this costume, and to perform a vast quantity of what 
in professional language is termed " comic business," he was 
compelled by fatigue, at the end of the sixth scene, to assume 
the Clown's dress, and so relieve himself from the immense 
weight which he had previously endured. "The part of 
Columbine," he tells us, " was supported by Miss Menage ;* 
and admirably she sustained it. 1 thought at the time that, 
taking them together, I never saw so good a Harlequin and 
Columbine ; and I still entertain the same opinion." 

"Harlequin Amulet" being played every night until Easter, he 
had plenty to do : but although his body was fatigued, his mind 
was relieved by constant employment, and he had little time, 
in the short intervals between exertion and repose, to brood over 
the heavy misfortune which had befallen him. Immediately 
after his wife's death, he had removed from the scene of his loss 
to a house in Baynes* How, and he gradually became more cheer- 
ful and composed. 

In this new^ habitation he devoted his leisure hours to the 
breeding of pigeons, and for this purpose had a room, which 
fanciers termed a dormer, constructed at the top of his house, 
where he used to sit for hours together, watching the birds as 
they disported in the air above him. At one time he had up- 
wards of sixty pigeons, all of the very first order and beauty, 
and many of them highly valuable : in proof of which, he notes 
down with great pride a bet, concerning one pigeon of peculiar 
talents, made with Mr. Lambert, himself a pigeon-fancier. 

This Mr. Lambert being, as Grimaldi says, "like myself, a 
pigeon-fancier, but, unlike myself, a confirmed boaster," took it 
into his head to declare and pronounce his birds superior in all 
respects _to those in any other collection. This comprehensive 
declaration immediately brought all the neighbouring pigeon- 
breeders up in arms ; and Grimaldi, taking up the gauntlet on 
behalf of the inmates of the " dormer," accepted a bet offered by 
Lambert, that there was no pigeon in his flight capable of ac- 
complishing twenty miles in twenty minutes. The sum at stake 
was twenty pounds. The nioney was posted, the bird exhibited, 
the day on which the match should come off named, and the 
road over which the bird was to fly agreed upon the course 
being from the twentieth mile-stone on the Great ^ North Eqad 
to Grimaldi's house. At six o'clock in the morning, the bird 
was consigned to the care of a friend, with instructions to throw 
it up precisely as the clock struck twelve, at the appointed mile- 

* Misa Bella Menage, in September, 1804. became the wife of Mr. M. W, 
Sharp, the artist. 


stone, near St. Albans ; and the friend and the pigeon, accom- 
panied by a gentleman on behalf of the opposite party, started 
off, all parties concerned first setting their watches by Clerken- 
well church. It was a very dismal day, the snow being very 
deep on the ground, and a heavy sleet falling, very much in- 
creasing the odds against the bird, the weather, of course, having 
great effect, and the snow frequently blinding it. There was 
no stipulation made, however, for fine weather ; so at twelve 
o'clock the two parties, accompanied by several friends, took up 
their station in the dormer. In exactly nineteen minutes after- 
wards, the pigeon alighted on the roof of the house. An offer of 
twenty pounds was immediately made for the bird, but it was 

The pigeons, however, did not always keep such good hours, 
or rather minutes ; for sometimes they remained away so long 
on their aerial excursions, that their owner gave them up in 
despair. On one occasion they were absent upwards of four 
hours. As their owner was sitting disconsolately, concluding 
they were gone for ever, his attention was attracted by the 
apparently unaccountable behaviour of three birds who had been 
left behind, and who, with their heads elevated in the air, were 
all gazing with intense earnestness at one portion of the horizon. 
After straining his eyes for a length of time without avail, their 
master began to fancy that he discerned a small black speck a 
great height above him. He was not mistaken, for by and by 
the black speck turned out, to his infinite joy, to be the lost 
flight of pigeons returning home, after a journey probably of 
several hundred miles. 

When the pantomime had ceased to run, Grimaldi had but 
little to do at Drury Lane, his duties being limited to a combat 
or some such business, in "Lodoiska," "Feudal Times," and 
other spectacles, which he could well manage to reach the 
theatre in time for, after the performances at Sadler's Wells 
were over. Drury Lane closed in June, and re-opened in Sep- 
tember, ten days after the season at Sadler's Wells had termi- 
nated ; but as he did not expect to be called into active service 
until December, he played out of town, for the first time in his 
life, in the month of November, 1801. 

There was at that time among the Sadler's Wells company a 
clever man named Lund, who, in the vacation time, usually 
Coined Mrs. Baker's company on the Eochester circuit. His 
benefit was fixed to take place at Eochester, on the 15th, and 
coming to town, he waited on Grimaldi and entreated him to 
play for him on the occasion. Whenever it was in his power to 
accede to such a request it was his invariable custom not to 
refuse ; he therefore willingly returned an answer in the affirm- 

He reached Eochester about noon on the day fixed for the 
benefit, rehearsed half-a-dozen pantomime scenes, and having 


dined, went to the theatre, every portion of which was crammea 
before six o'clock. On his appearance, he was received with a 
tremendous shout of welcome ; his two comic songs were each 
encored three times, and the whole performances went off with 
great eclat. Mrs. Baker, the manager or manageress, at once 
offered him an engagement for the two following nights, the 
receipts of the house to he divided hetween them. His accept- 
ance of this proposal delighted the old lady so much, that the 
arrangement was no sooner concluded than she straightway 
walked upon the stage, dressed in the bonnet and shawl in which 
she had been taking the money and giving the checks, and in 
an audible voice gave out the entertainments herself, to the 
immense delight of the audience, who shouted vociferously. 

This old lady appears to have been a very droll personage 
She managed all her affairs herself, and her pecuniary matters 
were conducted on a principle quite her own. She never put 
her money out at interest, or employed it in any speculative or 
profitable manner, but kept it in six or eight large punch- 
bowls, which always stood upon the top shelf of a bureau, except 
when she was disposed to make herself particularly happy, and 
then she would take them down singly, and after treating herself 
with a sly look at their contents, put them up again. 

This old lady had a factotum to whom attached the elegant 
sobriquet of "Bony Long ;" the gentleman's name being Long, 
and his appearance bony. At a supper after the play, at which 
the guests were Lund, Grimaldi, Henry and William Dowton 
(sons of the celebrated actor of that name), the manageress, and 
" Bony," it was arranged that Grimaldi should perform Scara- 
mouch, in "Don Juan," on the following night. A slight difficulty 
occurred, in consequence of his having brought from London no 
other dress than a clown's ; but Mrs. Baker provided against it 
by sending for one Mr. Palmer, then a respectable draper and 
tailor at Eochester, who, having received the actor's instructions, 
manufactured for him the best Scaramouch dress he ever wore. 
The assurances which were given the artist at the time that 
his abilities lay in the theatrical way were not without good 
foundation, for two years afterwards he left Eochester, came to 
London, and became principal ^master-tailor at Covent Garden 
Theatre. He held the situation for some years, and then 
removed to Drury Lane and filled the same office, which he still 
continues to hold. 

On the second night, the house was filled in every part, and a 
great number of persons were turned away. On the following 
evening, on which he made his last appearance, and repeated 
the part of Scaramouch together with that of Clown ; the orchestra 
was turned into boxes, seats were fitted up on every inch of 
available room behind the scenes, and the receipts exceeded in 
amount those of any former occasion. 

At another supper that night with Mrs. Baker, he made an 



arrangement to join her company for a night or two, at Maid- 
stone, in the following^March, provided his London engagements 
would admit of his doing so. They were not at all behindhand 
with the money; for, at eight o'clock next morning, "Bony 
Long " repaired to his lodgings, taking with him an account of 
the two nights' receipts, Grimaldi's share whereof came to 160?., 
which was at once paid over to him, down upon the nail, all in 
three-shilling pieces. This was an addition to his baggage which 
he had not expected, and he was rather at a loss how to convey 
his loose silver up to town, when he was relieved by a tavern- 
keeper, who being as glad to take the silver as Grimaldi was to 
get notes, very; soon made the exchange, to the satisfaction of all 
parties. _ Having had this satisfactory settlement with the old 
lady, Grimaldi took his leave, and returned to town, not at all 
displeased with the success which had attended his first pro- 
fessional excursion from London. 

At Christmas, "Harlequin Amulet" was revived at Drury Lane, 
in place of a new pantomime, and ran without interruption till 
the end of January following ; drawing as much money as it 
had in the previous year. It was during this season, or about 
this time, that Grimaldi's old friend Davis, or "Jew Davis," as 
he was called, made his first appearance at Drury Lane. This 
is the man whose eccentricity gave rise to a ludicrous anecdote 
of John Kemble, of which the following is a correct version : 

Kemble was once "starring" in the north of England, and 
paid a visit to the provincial theatre in which Jew Davis was 
engaged, where he was announced for Hamlet. Every member 
of the little company was necessarily called into requisition, 
and Jew Davis was " cast" to play the first grave-digger. All 
went well until the first scene of the fifth act, being the identical 
one in which Davis was called upon to appear : and here the 
equanimity and good temper ol Kemble were considerably 
shaken : the grave-digger's representative having contracted a 
habit of grimacing which, however valuable in burlesque or 
farce, was far from being at all desirable in tragedy, and least 
of all in that philosophical tragedy of which Hamlet is the hero. 
But if the actor had contracted a habit of grimacing upon his 
part, the audience upon its part had contracted an equally con- 
stant habit of laughing at him : so the great tragedian, moral- 
izing over the skull of Yorick, was frequently interrupted by the 
loud roars of laughter attendant upon the grave-digger's strangely 
comical and increasing grins. 

This greatly excited the wrath of Kemble, and after the play 
was finished, lie remonstrated somewhat angrily with Davis upon 
the subject, requesting that such " senseless buffoonery" might 
not be repeated in the event of their sustaining the same parts 
on any subsequent occasion. All this was far from answering 
the end proposed : the peculiarities of temper belonging to Jew 


Davis were aroused, and he somewhat tartly replied that he did 
not wish to be taught his profession by Mr. Kemble. The latter 
took no further notice of the subject, but pursued the even 
tenour of his way with so beneficial an effect upon the treasury 
that his engagement was renewed for " a few nights more," and 
on the last of these " few nights " Hamlet was again the play 

As before, all went well till the^ grave-diggers' scene com- 
menced ; when Kemble, while waiting for his " cue" to go on, 
listened bodingly to the roars of laughter which greeted the 
colloquy of Davis and his companion. At length he entered, 
and at the same moment, Davis having manufactured a grotesque 
visage, was received with a shout of laughter, which greatly 
tended to excite the anger of " King John. ' His first words 
were spoken, but failed to make any impression : and upon 
turning towards Davis, he discovered that worthy standing in 
the grave, ^ displaying a series of highly unsuitable although 
richly comic grimaces. 

In an instant all Kemble's good temper vanished, and stamping 
furiously upon the stage, he expressed his anger and indignation 
in a muttered exclamation, closely resembling an oath. This 
ebullition of momentary excitement produced an odd and un- 
expected effect No sooner did Davis hear the exclamation and 
the loud stamping of the angry actor, than he instantly raised 
his hands ab9ve his head in mock terror, and, clasping them 
together as if he were horrified by some dreadful spectacle, 
threw into his face an expression of intense terror, and uttered 
a frightful cry, half shout and half scream, which electrified 
his hearers. Having done this, he very coolly laid himself flat 
down in the grave, (of course disappearing from the view of the 
audience), nor could any entreaties prevail upon him to emerge 
from it, or to repeat one word more. The scene was done as we'll 
as it could be, without a grave-digger, and the audience, while 
it was proceeding, loudly expressed their apprehensions from 
time to time, " that some accident had happened to Mr. Davis." 

Some months after this, Sheridan happening to see Davis act 
in the provinces, and being struck with his talents, (he was con- 
sidered the best stage Jew upon the boards,) engaged him for 
Drury Lane ; and, in that theatre, on the first day of the ensuing 
season, he was formally introduced by Sheridan to John Kemble, 
then stage-manager. By the latter he was not immediately 
recognised, although Kemble evidently remembered having seen 
him somewhere ; but, after a time, plainly devoted to conside- 
ration, he said 

" Oh, ah, ah ! I recollect now. You, sir, you are the gen- 
tleman who suddenly went into the grave, and forgot to come 
out again, I think ?" 

Davis admitted the fact without equivocation, and hastened 

G 2 


to apologise for his ill-timed jesting. The affair was related io 
Sheridan, to whom, it is needless to say, it afforded the most 
unbounded delight, and all three joining in a hearty laugh, 
dismissed the subject. 

When " Harlequin Amulet" was withdrawn, there was very 
little for Grimaldi to do during the rest of the season. On the 
4th of March, therefore, in pursuance of his previous arrange- 
ment, he joined the old lady at Maidstone, and was announced 
for Scaramouch. 

The announcement of his name excited an unwonted sensation. 
in this quiet little town. As early as half-past four o'clock in 
the afternoon, the street in front of the theatre was rendered 
quite impassable by the vast crowd of persons that surrounded 
the doors. Mrs. Baker, who had never beheld such a scene in 
her life-time, became at first very much delighted, and then very 
much frightened. After some consideration, she despatched a 
messenger for an extra quantity of constables, and upon their 
arrival, threw the doors open at once, previously placing herself 
in the pay-box, according to custom, to take the money. 

" Now, then, pit or box, pit or gallery, box or pit ?" was her 
constant and uninterrupted cry. 

" Pit, pit !" from half-a-dozen voices, the owners clinging to 
the little desk to prevent themselves from being carried away by 
the crowd before thevhad paid. 

" Then pay two shillings, pass on, Tom-fool !" such was the 
old lady's invariable address to everybody on busy nights, with- 
out the slightest reference to their quality or condition. 

On this occasion of the doors being opened at five o'clock, 
when the house was quite full she locked up the box in which 
the money was deposited, and going round to the stage, ordered 
the performances to be commenced immediately, remarking, with 
a force of reasoning which it was impossible to controvert, that 
" the house could be but full, and being full to the ceiling now, 
they might just as well begin at once, and have it over so much 
the sooner." The performance accordingly began without delay, 
to the great satisfaction of the audience, and terminated shortly 
after nine o'clock. 

Grimaldi was very much caressed by the townspeople, and 
received several invitations to dinner next day from gentlemen 
residing in the neighbourhood ; all of which he declined, how- 
ever, being already engaged to the eccentric manageress, who 
would hardly allow him out of her sight. Happening to walk 
about the town in the course of the morning, he was recognised 
and saluted by the boys, in the same way as when he walked the 
streets of London. On the night of his second appearance, the 
house was again crowded, the door-keepers having managed, 
indeed, by some ingenious contrivance, to squeeze three pounds 
more into it than on the previous night. The first evening pro- 


duced 154?., and the second 157?. Of the gross sum, his share 
was 155?. 17s., which was promptly paid to him after supper, on 
the second and last night. 

The old lady had no sooner handed it over through the ever 
useful Bony, than she proposed to Grimaldi to go on with them 
to Canterbury, and to act there for the^ next two nights upon 
similar terms. He no sooner signified his willingness to do so, 
than she directed bills for distribution to be made out, and sent 
to the printer's instantly. They were composed and printed by 
four o'clock in the morning. No sooner did they arrive wet 
from the press, than men on horseback were immediately de- 
spatched with them to Canterbury, about which city the whole 
impression was circulated and posted before nine o'clock. The 
old lady had theatres at Eochester, Maidstone, and Canterbury, 
besides many other towns in the circuit, and the size of the 
whole being very nearly the same, the scenery which was suit- 
able to one fitted them all. Early in the morning, the whole 
company left Maidstone for Canterbury, whither Grimaldi fol- 
lowed in a post-chaise at his leisure. When he arrived there 
about one o'clock, everything was ready ; no rehearsal was ne- 
cessary, for there were the same performers, the same musicians, 
scene-shifters, and lamp-lighters. Having inspected the box- 
book, which notified that every takeable seat in the house was 
taken, he retired to Mrs. Baker's sitting-room, which was the 
very model of the one at Maidstone and at Eochester too, and 
found a good dinner awaiting his arrival. Here he was, and 
here they all were, in the city of Canterbury, about twenty miles 
from Maidstone, at one o'clock in the day, with the same scenery, 
dresses, decorations, and transformations as had been in use at 
the latter theatre late over-night, surrounded by the same actors, 
male and female, and playing in the same pieces which had been 
represented by the same men and women, and the same adjuncts, 
fourteen hours before at Maidstone. 

He played here two nights, as had been agreed upon, to very 
nearly the same houses as at Maidstone ; the first night's cash 
being 151?. 3*., and the second 159?. 17s., of which he 
received 155?. 9*. 6a. Early the next morning he returned to 
London with 311/. 6s. 6d. in his pocket, the profits he had 
acquired during an absence from the metropolis of only four 
days' duration. 

Shortly after his return to town, and about a week before 
Easter, he saw with great astonishment that it was announced, 
or, to use the theatrical term, " underlined," in the Drury Lane 
bills, that " Harlequin Amulet" would be revived at Easter, and 
that Mr. Grimaldi would sustain his original character. This 
announcement being in direct violation of his articles of agree- 
ment at Drury Lane, and wholly inconsistent with the terms of 
Ms engagement at Sadler's Wells, he had no alternative but at 


wice to wait upon Mr. John Kemble, the stage-manager of the 
former theatre, and explain to him the exact nature of his 

He found John Kemble at the theatre, who received him with 
all the grandeur and authority of demeanour which it was his 
fcabit to assume when he was about to insist upon something 
which he knew would be resisted. Grimaldi bowed, and Kemble 
formally and gravely touched his hat. 

" Joe," said Kemble, with great dignity, " what is the 

In reply, Grimaldi briefly stated his case, pointing out that 
he was engaged by his articles at Drury_to play in last pieces 
at and after Easter, but not in pantomime ; that at Sadler's 
Wells he was bound to perform- in the first piece ; that these 
distinct engagements had" never before been interfered with by 
the management of either theatre in the most remote manner 
upon any one occasion ; and that, however much he regretted 
the inconvenience to which his refusal might give rise, he could 
not possibly perform the part for which he had been announced 
at Drury Lane. 

Kemble listened to these representations with a grave and 
tmmpved countenance ; and when Grimaldi had finished, after 
waiting a moment, as if to make certain that he had really 
concluded, rose from his seat, and said in a solemn tone, " Joe, 
one word here, sir, is as good as a thousand you must come ! " 

Joe felt excessively indignant at this, not merely because 
must is a disagreeable word in itself, but because he conceived 
that the tone in which it was uttered rendered it additionally 
disagreeable ; so, saying at once what the feeling of the moment 
prompted, he replied, "Yery good, sir. In reply to must, there 
is only one thing that can very well be said : I will not come, 

" Will not, Joe, eh ?" said Kemble. 

" I will not, sir," replied Grimaldi. 

" Not ! " said Kemble again, with great emphasis. 

Grimaldi repeated the monosyllable with equal vehemence. ^ 

" Then, Joe," said Kemble, taking off his hat, and bowing in 
a ghost-like manner, " I wish you a very good morning ! " 

Grimaldi took off his hat, made another low bow, and wished 
Mr. Kemble good morning ; and so they parted. 

Next day his name was taken from the bills, and that of 
some other performer, quite unknown to the London stage, was 
inserted instead ; which performer, when he did come out, went 
in again for he failed so signally that the pantomime wa# not 
played after the Monday night. 

In the short interval between this interview and the Easter 
holidays, Grimaldi was engaged in the study of a new part for 
Sadler's Wells, which was a very prominent character in s. piece 


bearing the sonorous and attractive title of the " Great Devil."* 
He entertained very strong hopes that both the part and the 
piece would be very successful ; and how far his expectations 
were borne out by subsequent occurrences, the next chapter will 

* The Serio-Comic Spectacle of " The Great Devil ; or, The Eobber of Genoa," 
was produced late in the season of 1801, early in September, and on the 14th of 
that month was performed *"er C. Dibdin's benefit. Nicola, by Mr. Grimaldi ; 
Bridget, by Mrs. Davis ; Gattie, some years afterwards distinguished for his 
performance of Mona. Morbleu, at Drury Lane, had also a singing part in the 


1802 to 1803. 

Hard work to counterbalance great gains His discharge from Drury Lane, and 
his discharge at Sadler's Wells His return to the former house Monk 
Lewis Anecdote of him and Sheridan, and of Sheridan and the Prince of 
Wales Grimaldi gains a Son and loses all his capital. 

THE " Great Devil" came out on Easter Monday,* and its 
success entailed upon Grimaldi no inconsiderable degree of 
trouble and fatigue. He played two parts in it, and, to say 
nothing of such slight exertions as acting and fighting, had to 
change his dress no fewer than nineteen times in the progress of 
the piece. It made a great noise, and ran the whole season 

As we had occasion to notice in the last chapter the ease with 
which he acquired a large sum of money by his professional 
exertions, and as we may have to describe other large gains 
hereafter, it may not be amiss to show in this place how much 
of fatigue and harassing duty those exertions involved, and 
how much of bodily toil and fatigue he had to endure before 
those gains could be counted. 

At Sadler's Wells he commenced the labour of the evening by 
playing a long and arduous part in the before-mentioned " Great 
l)evil ;" after this he played in some little burletta which imme- 
diately succeeded it ; upon conclusion of that he was clown to 
the rope-dancer ; and, as a wind-up to the entertainments, he 
appeared as clown in the pantomime, always singing two comic 
songs in the course of the piece, both of which were regularly 
encored. He had then to change his dress with all possible 

* Sadler's Wells Theatre, the interior of which had been wholly rebuilt since 
the close of the season, in 1801, opened on Easter Monday, April 19, 1802, with 
an occasional Burletta Prelude, entitled " Old Sadler's Ghost ;" a new Comic 
Dance, called "The Jew Cobbler," in which M. Joubert, from Paris, as prin- 
cipal dancer, made his first appearance in England ; the Serio-Comic Pantomime 
of " The Great Devil," with alterations and new dresses; and an entirely new 
Comic Pantomime, called " Harlequin Greenlander ; or, The Whale Fishery." 
In " The Great Devil," Bologna, jun., after an absence of eight years, played th 
part of Satani, the Great Devil. Kudolpho, Mons. Gouriet; Nicola, Mr. 
Grimaldi ; Count Ludovico, Mr. Hartland; Bridget, Mrs. Davis; the Countess, 
Madame St. A maud. 


speed, and take a hurried walk, and often a rapid run, to Drurj 
Lane, to perform in the last piece.* 

This immense fatigue, undergone six days out of every seven, 
left him at the conclusion of the week completely worn out and 
thoroughly exhausted, and, beyond all doubt, by taxing his 
bodily energies far beyond their natural powers, sowed the first 
seeds of that extreme debility and utter prostration of strength 
from which, in the latter years of his life^he suffered so much. 
The old man had a good right to say that, if his gains had been 
occasionally great, they were won by labour more than propor- 

His attention to his duties and invariable punctuality were 
always remarkable. To his possession in an eminent degree of 
these qualities, may be attributed the fact, that during the whole 
of his dramatic career, long and arduous as it was, he never 
once disappointed the public, or failed in his attendance at the 
theatre to perform any part for which he was cast. 

He continued to attend his duties as a member of the Drury 
Lane company for three months without finding that any violent 
consequences arose from his interview with John Kemble. The 
only perceptible difference was, that when they met, Kemble, 
instead of accosting him familiarly, as he had before been 
accustomed to do, would pull off hisnat and make him a formal 
bow, which Grimaldi would return in precisely the same man- 
ner ; so that their occasional meetings were characterised by 
something about half-way between politeness and absurdity. 
All this pleased Grimaldi very much, but rather surprised him 
too, for he had confidently expected that some rupture would 
have followed the announcement of his determination not to act. 
He was not very long, however, in finding that his original 
apprehensions were correct, for on the 26th of June he received 
the following epistle : 

"Drury Lane Theatre. 


" I am requested by the proprietors to inform you that your 
services will be dispensed with for the next ensuing season." 

This notice^was signed by Powell, the then prompter, and its 
contents considerably annoyed and irritated the person to whom 
it was addressed. To command him in the first place to perform 
what was out of his engagement and out of his power, and to 

* This summary of Joe's exertions is over-stated : in tne Spectacles Joe 
generally had a part, particularly where combatants were employed ; but not 
in any of the little Burlettas alluded to, nor was he ever Clown to the rope : aa 
Clown in the Pantomime, his name certainly appears in the Sadler's Wells' an- 

by , _ _ D w 

Grimaldi appears to have always teen in a position to play at Drury TLane and 
Co vent Garden, to the exclusion of any demand on his services at Sadler's 


punish him in the next lay dispensing with his services, which 
of consequence involved his dispensing with his salary, seemed 
exceedingly harsh and unjust treatment. For a time he even 
contemplated bringing an action against Sheridan, against whom, 
tinder the terms of his agreement, he would in all probability 
.have obtained a verdict; but he ultimately gave up all idea of 
seeking this mode of redress, and determined to consult his 
staunch and sincere friend Mr. Hughes, by whose advice he was 
always guided. To that gentleman's house he repaired, and 
showing him the notice he had received, inquired what in his 
opinion he had best do. 

"Burn the letter," said Hughes, "and don't waste a minute 
in thinking about it. You shall go with me to Exeter as soon as 
the Sadler's Wells season is over, and stop there until it recom- 
mences. You shall have four pounds a week all the time, and a 
clear benefit. It will be strange if this does not turn out better 
for you than your present engagement at Drury Lane." 

He accepted the terms so kindly offered, without a moment's 
hesitation, and determining to be guided by the advice of Mr. 
Hughes, thought no more about the matter. 

At Sadler's Wells the summer season went on very briskly until 
August, when a circumstance occurred which impeded the course 
of his success for some time, and might have been attended with 
much more dangerous consequences. He played the first lieu? 
tenant of a band of robbers in the before-mentioned " Great 
Devil,"* and in^ one ^ scene ^ had a pistol secreted in his boot, 
which, at a certain point of interest, he drew forth, presented at 
some of the characters on the stage, and fired off, thus producing 
what is technically termed an effect ; in the production of which 
on the evening of the 14th of August, he very^unintentionally 
presented another effect, the consequences of which confined him 
to his bed for upwards of a month. While he was in the act of 
drawing out the pistol, the trigger by some accident caught in the 
loop of the boot, into which _ (the muzzle being downwards) its 
contents were immediately discharged. The boot itself puffed 
out to a great size, presenting a very laughter-moving appear- 
ance to everybody but the individual in it, who was suffering the 
most excruciating agony. Determined not to mar the effect of 

* The " Great Devil" ceased to be played at Sadler's Wells the last week in 
May, 1802 ; the accident particularized as having occurred on the 14th of August, 
was, therefore, not during the performance of that piece, but on the last night 
of the pantomime of "St. George," in which it was announced would be 
presented several unexampled and unparalleled combats, exclusive of the 
combat with the Dragon, which involves St. George in a shower of fire : the 
consequences, however, did not "confine him to his bed for upwards of a 
month," as the bill of Monday, August 30, mentions the performance of the new 
oerio-comic Pantomime of " Zoa," in which would be performed an extraor- 
dinary combat of six, by Bologna, jun., Grimaldi, Gattie, Hartland, and others, 
to conclude with, fourth time, " The Wizard's Wake ; or, Harlequin's Regener- 
ation ;" Harlequin, Mr. Bologna, jun. ; Merlin, Mr. Gattie; Clown, Mr. 


the scene, however, by leaving the stage before it WAS finished, 
he _ remained on until its conclusion ; and then, when by the 
assistance of several persons the boot was got off it was found 
that the explosion had set fire to the stocking, which had been 
burning slowly all the time he had remained upon the stage ; 
besides which, the wadding was still alight and resting upon 
the foot. He was taken home and placed under medical care ; 
but the accident confined him to the house for more than a 

At length, after a tedious, and, as it appeared to him then, 
almost an interminable confinement, he resumed his duties at 
Sadler's Wells Theatre, and the part also. But the effect was 
never _ more produced; for from that time forth the pistol was 
worn in his belt, in compliance with the established usages of 
robber-chieftains upon the stage, who, at minor theatres 
especially, would be quite incomplete and out of character with- 
out a very broad black belt, with a huge buckle, and at least 
two brace of pistols stuck into it. 

During this illness he received great attention and kindness 
from Miss Bristow, one of the actresses at Drury Lane Theatre. 
She attended upon him every morning to assist in dressing the 
wound, and enlivened the hours which would otherwise have 
been very weary, by her company and conversation. In grati- 
tude for her kindness, Grimaldi married her on the following 
Christmas Eye, and it may be as well to state in this place, that 
with her he lived very happily for more than thirty years ; when 
she died. 

Drury Lane opened on the 30th of September, with "As You 
Like It," and " Blue Beard," Grimaldi's chief part in this piece 
was a combat in the last scene but one ; which, being very effec- 
tive, had always been regularly and vociferously applauded. It 
was not originally in the piece, but had been " invented," and 
arranged with appropriate music for the purpose of keeping the 
attention of the house engaged, while the last scene, which was 
a very heavy one, was being " set up." Now, if any fresh com- 
batant had been ready in Grimaldi's place, very probably the 
piece might have gone off as well as it had theretofore, but 
Kemble, who was then stage-manager* as has been before stated, 
totally forgetting the reason of the combat's introduction, omit- 
ted to provide any substitute. The omission was pointed out at 
rehearsal, and then he gave directions that it should be altogether 
dispensed with. 

The effect of this order was very unsatisfactory both to himself 
and the public. 

There was a very full house at night, and the play went off as 
well as it could, and so did the afterpiece up to the time when 
the last scene should have^een displayed ; but here the stage- 
manager discovered his mistake too late. The last scene was 
v not ready, it being quite impossible to prepare it in time, and 


the consequence was, that the audience, instead of looking at the 
combat, were left to look at each other or at the empty stage, as 
they thought fit. Upon this, there gradually arose many hisses 
and other expressions of disapprobation, and at last some play- 
goer in the pit, who all at once remembered the combat, shouted 
out very loudly for it. The cry was instantly taken up and 
became universal : some demanded the combat, others required 
an apology for the omission ^of the combat, a few called upon 
Kemble to fight the combat himself, and a scene of great com- 
motion ensued. The exhibition of the last scene, instead of 
allaying the tumult, only increased it, and when the curtain fell, 
it was in the midst of a storm of hisses and disapprobation. 

It so happened that Sheridan had been sitting in his own 
private box with a party of friends all the evening, frequently 
congratulating himself on the crowded state of the house, and 
repeatedly expatiating upon the admirable manner in which 
both pieces went off. He was consequently not a little annoyed 
at the sudden change in the temper of the audience ; and not 
only that, but, as he knew nothing at all about the unlucky 
combat, very much confounded and amazed into the bargain. 
The moment the curtain was down, he rushed on to the stage, 
where the characters had formed a picture, and in a loud and 
alarming voice exclaimed 

" Let no one stir !" 

Nobody did stir ; and Sheridan walking to the middle of the 
proscenium, and standing with his back to the curtain, said in 
the most solemn manner, 

"In this affair I am determined to be satisfied, and I call 
upon somebody here to answer me one question. What is the 
cause of this infernal clamour ?" 

This question was put in such an all-important way, that no 
one ventured to reply until some seconds had elapsed, when 
Barrymore, who played Blue Beard, stepped forward and said, 
that the fact was, there had formerly been a combat between 
Mr. Hoffey and Joe, and the audience was dissatisfied at its not 
being done. 

"And why was it not done, sir? "Why was it not done? 
"Where is Joe, sir ?" 

" Really, sir," replied Barrymore, "it is impossible for me to 
say where he may be. Our old friend Joe was dismissed at the 
close of the last season by the stage-manager." 

At this speech Sheridan fell into a great rage, said a great 
many angry things, and made a great many profoundly im- 
portant statements, to the effect that he would be master of his 
own house, and that nobody should manage for him, and so 
forth ; all of which was said in a manner more or less polite. 
He concluded by directing the " call" porter of the theatre to go 
immediately to " Joe's" house, and to request him to be upon 
the stage at twelve precisely next day. He then took off his 


hat with a great flourish, made a polite bow to the actors and 
actresses on. the stage, and walked very solemnly away. 

He received Grimaldi very kindly next day, and reinstated 
him in the situation he had previously held, adding unasked a 
pound a week to his former salary, " in order," as he expressed 
himself, "that matters might be arranged in a manner pro- 
foundly satisfactory." 

On the day after, " Harlequin Amulet " flourished in the 
bills in large letters for the following Monday ; a rehearsal 
was called, and during its progress Kemble took an opportunity 
of encountering Grimaldi, and said, with great good humour, 
that he was very glad to see him there again, and that he hoped 
it would be very long before they parted company. In this ex- 
pression of feeling Grimaldi very heartily concurred; and so 
ended his discharge from Drury Lane Theatre, entailing upon 
him no more unpleasant consequences than the easily-borne 
infliction of an increased salary. So ended, also, the Exeter 
scheme, which was abandoned at once by Mr. Hughes, whose 
only object had been to serve his son-in-law. 

" About this time," says Grimaldi, " I used frequently to see 
the late Mr. M. G. Lewis, commonly called Monk Lewis, on 
account of his being the author of a well-known novel, better 
known from its dramatic power than from its strait-laced pro- 
priety or morality of purpose. He was an effeminate looking 
man, almost constantly lounging about the green-room of Drury 
Lane, and entering into conversation with the ladies and gen- 
tlemen, but in a manner so peculiar, so namby-pamby (I cannot 
think at this moment of a more appropriate term), that it was 
far from pleasing a majority of those thus addressed. His writings 
prove him to have been a clever man ; a consummation which 
his conversation would most certainly have failed signally in. 
producing. I have often thought that Sheridan used to laugh 
in his sleeve at this gentleman ; and I have, indeed, very good 
reason for believing that Lewis, upon many more occasions than 
one, was the undisguised butt of our manager. Be that as it 
may, Monk Lewis's play of the Castle Spectre was most un- 
doubtedly a great card for Drury Lane ; it drew immense 
houses, and almost invariably went off with loud applause. I 
have heard the following anecdote related, which, if true, 
clearly proves that Sheridan by no means thought so highly of 
this drama as did the public at large. One evening it chanced 
that these two companions were sitting at some tavern in the 
neighbourhood discussing the merits of a disputed question and 
a divided bottle, when Lewis, warming with his subject, offered 
to back his opinion with a bet. 

"What will you wager?" inquired Sheridan, who began to 
doubt whether his was not the wrong side of the argument. 

" I'll bet you one night's receipts of the Castle Spectre !" 
exclaimed the author. 


"Ko," replied the manager; "that would be too heavy a 
wager for so trifling a matter. I'll tell you what I'll do I'll 
bet you its intrinsic worth as a literary production !" 

Lewis received these little sallies from his lively acquaintance 
with the most perfect equanimity of temper, never manifesting 
annoyance by action further than by passing his hand through 
his light-coloured hair, or by word further than a murmured 
interjection of " Hum !'* or " Hah !" 

There is another little anecdote in this place which we will 
also leave Grimaldi to tell in his own way. 

" In the winter of the year I frequently had the honour of 
seeing his late Majesty George the Eourth, then Prince of Wales, 
who used to be much behind the scenes of Drury Lane, delight- 
ing everybody with his affability, his gentlemanly manners, and 
his witty remarks. On Twelfth Night, 1802, we all assembled 
in the green-room as usual on that anniversary at Drury Lane 
Theatre, to eat cake, given by the late Mr. Baddeley, who by 
his will left three guineas to be spent in the purchase of a 
Twelfth-cake for the company of that theatre. In the midst of 
our merriment, Sheridan, accompanied by the Prince, entered 
the apartment, and the former looking at the cake, and noticing 
a large crown with which it was surmounted, playfully said, 
' It is not right that a crown should be the property of a cake : 
what say you, George ?' The Prince_ merely laughed : and 
Sheridan, taking up the crown, offered it to him, adding 

" ' Will you deign to accept this trifle ?' 

" ' Not so,' replied his highness : * however it may be doubted, 
it is nevertheless true that I prefer the cake to the crown, after 
all.' And so, declining the crown, he partook of our feast with 
hilarity and condescension." 

There was no pantomime at Drury Lane, either in 1801 or 
1802 ;* nor was any great novelty produced at Sadler's Wells in 

* Grimaldi appears to have been much circumscribed in his performances at 
the Wells in 18(. 1. Dubois was Clown in the Harlequinades, and between him 
and Joe, the comicalities of the season appear to hare been divided ; the comic 
songs being sung by Dubois, Grimaldi, and Davis. Among the extraordinary 
events of this season was the appearance in June of the late distinguished 
tragedian, Edmund Kean, as "Master Carey, the Pupil of Nature," who was 
announced to recite Holla's celebrated address from the Tragedy of " Pizarro." 
There was something appropriate in his first appearance at the Wells : his great 
grandfather, Henry Carey, the illegitimate son of George Saville, Marquis of 
Halifax, and the avowed author and composer of the well-known ballad of " Sally 
in our Alley," wrote and composed many of the musical pieces for Sadler's 
Wells. Though often in great distress, and the author of many convivial songs, 
Harry Carey never employed his muse in opposition to the interests of morality. 
Poor Harry Carey, however, became at length the victim of poverty and despair, 
and hanged himself at his lodging in Warner-street, Clerkenwell, October 4, 
1743. When found dead, he had but one halfpenny in his pocket. George 
Saville Carey was his posthumous child ; at first a printer, he abandoned that 
calling for the stage, but his abilities did not ensure him success ; and he became 
a lecturer and associate with Moses Kean in his imitations of popular actors, 
md Lectures on Mimicry. Carey had a daughter; and Mosea Kean a brother. 


the latter year. The year 1802, indeed, seems to have been pro- 
ductive of no melodramatic wonder whatever ; the most im- 
portant circumstance it brought to Grimaldi being the birth "of 
a son on the 21st of November ; an event which afforded him 
much joy and happiness. 

But if 1802 brought nothing remarkable with it, its successor 
did, for it was ushered in with an occurrence of a rather serious 
nature, the consequences of which were not very soon recovered. 
Whether it was ill-fortune or want of caution, or want of know- 
ledge of worldly matters, it did so happen that whenever 
Grimaldi succeeded in scraping together a little money, so 
surely did he lose it afterwards in some strange and unforeseen 
y-anner. He had at that period been for some time acquainted 
,/ith a very respected merchant of the city of London, named 
Charles Newland (not Abraham), who was supposed to have an 
immense capital embarked in business, who lived in very good 
style, keeping up a great appearance, and who was considered 
to be, in sliort, a very rich man. He called at Grimaldi's house 
one morning in February, and requesting a few minutes' pri- 
vate conversation, said hastily, 

" I dare say you will be surprised, Joe, when you hear what 
business I have come upon ; hut but although I am possessed 
of a great deal of wealth, it is all embarked in business, and I 
am at this moment very short of ready money ; so I want you 
to lend me a few hundred pounds, if it is quite ^convenient." 
All this was said with a brisk and careless air, as if such slight 
trifles as "a few hundred pounds "were scarcely deserving of 
being named. 

Grimaldi had never touched the five hundred and odd pounds 
which he had picked up on Tower-hill, but had added enough 

Edmund Kean, who made his first appearance on the stage at the Boyalty 
Theatre, September 9, 1788. Edmund Kean was the father of the tragedian ; 
and Nancy Carey gave him birth at her father's chambers in Gray's Inn. Hia 
mother called herself " Mrs." Carey, and played first tragedy woman at Eichard- 
son's Booth at Bartholomew and other fairs : bills are extant announcing parts 
played by Mrs. Carey and Master Carey. Moses Kean, the uncle of the trage- 
dian, was a tailor, with a wooden leg ; a convivial but in no respect a dissipated 
character. He was the original of those who professed to give imitations of the 
leading players Kean's oi Henderson, as Hamlet in the grave scene, was in- 
imitable. His death was premature and singular. He lived at No. 8, Upper 
St. Martin* s-lane, near the Horse Eepository, and was an admirer of fine scenery 
the changes in the clouds, and the majestic splendour of the heavens. One 
evening, he ascended to the roof of his residence, to enjoy an uninterrupted 
view ot the setting sun, when rapt by the object before him and intent on the 
view, he lost his hold, fell into the street, and was killed. The tragedian's 
grandfather, George Saville Carey, like his father, died in great distress, July 
14, 1807. After that period, Master Carey adopted his father's name, Edmund 
Kean, and subsequently ennobled the British stage by his transcendaut personi- 
fications of Othello, Sir Giles Overreach, Eichard III., and other characters 
a meteor of no prolonged duration, but the eifulgence of which will be long 


to make six hundred in all. This sum he hastened to place 
before his friend, assuring him, with great sincerity, that if he 
had possessed double or treble the amount, he would have been 
\tappy to have lent it him with the greatest readiness. The 
merchant expressed the gratification he derived from his friend- 
ship, and giving him a bill for the money at three months' date, 
shook his hand warmly, and left him. 

The bill was dishonoured ; the merchant became bankrupt, 
left England for America, and died upon the passage out. And 
thus the contents of the net purse and the bundle of notes were 
lost as easily as they were gained, with the addition of some 




Containing a very extraordinary incident well worthy of the reader's 

ONE evening in the second week of November, 1803,* Grimaldi 
then playing at Drury Lane, had been called by the prompter, 
and was passing from the green-room to the stage, when a 
messenger informed him that two gentlemen were waiting to see 
him at the stage-door. Afraid of keeping the stage waiting, he 
enjoined the messenger to tell the gentlemen that he was 
engaged at that moment, but that he would come down to them 
directly he left the stage. The play was "A Bold Stroke for a 
Wife :" Miss Mellon was Anne ; Bannister, Feignwell ; Aitkin, 
Simon Pure ; and Grimaldi, Aminadab. 
As soon as he could get away from the stage, he hurried down 

* Sadler's Wells opened on Easter Monday, April llth, 1803, under a change 
of proprietors. Mr. Hughes retained his fourth; Thomas and Charles Dibdm 
had purchased Mi. Siddons' fourth for 1400Z; Barford and Yarnold had bought 
the fourth previously held by Mr. Thos. Arnold, of the First Fruits Office ; 
Mr. Keeve purchased the eighth, hitherto the property of Mr. Wroughton ; and 
Mr. Andrews the eighth previously held by Mr. Coates. The season is memor- 
able for the appearance on that stage of the celebrated traveller, Signor 
Giambattista Belzoni, as the Patagoman Samson, in which character he per- 
formed prodigious feats of strength; one of which was to adjust an iron frame 
to his body, weighing 127 Ibs., on which he carried eleven persons. On his 
benefit night he attempted to carry thirteen, but as that number could not hold 
on, it was abandoned. His stature, as registered in the books of the Alien. 
Office, was six feet six inches. 

Poor TomEllai, in his Manuscripts, notices " The first time I met Signor 
Belzoni, was at the Eoyalty Theatre, on Easter Monday, 1808, my first appear- 
ance in London ; the theatre closed after the fourth week. In September of the 
same year, I again met him at Saunders's booth in Bartholomew Fair, exhibiting 
as the French Hercules. In 1809, we were jointly engaged in the production of 

Pantomime, at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin ; I as Harlequin, and he as 
an artist to superintend the last scene, a sort of Hydraulic Temple, which, owing 
to what is very frequently the case, the being over-anxious, failed and nearly 
inundated the orchestra. Fiddlers generally follow their leader, and Tom Cooke 
was then the man ; seeing the water, off he bolted, and they to a man followed 
him, leaving me, Columbine, and the other characters, to finish the scene, in the 
midst of a splendid shower of fire and water. Signor Belzoni was a man of 
gentlemanly but very assuming manners ; yet of great mind." Such was Tom 
Ellar's opinion of that memorable man, whose celeority afterwards as a traveller 
requires no record in this place. 


stairs, and inquiring 1 who wanted him, was introduced to two 
strangers, who were patiently awaiting his arrival. They were 
young men of gentlemanly appearance, and upon hearing the 
words, "Here's Mr. Grimaldi who wants him?" one of them 
turned hastily round, and warmly accosted him. 

He looked about his own age, and had evidently been accus- 
tomed to a much warmer climate than that of England. He 
wore the fashionable evening- dress of the day that is to saj, a 
blue body-coat with gilt buttons, a white waistcoat, and tight 
pantaloons and carried in his hand a small gold-headed 

" Joe, my lad !" exclaimed this person, holding out his hand, 
in some agitation, " how goes it with you now, old fellow r" 

He was not a little surprised at this familiar address from a 
person whom he was not conscious of ever having seen in his 
life, and, after a moment's pause, replied that he really had not 
the pleasure of the stranger's acquaintance. 

"Not the pleasure of my acquaintance!" repeated the 
stranger, with a loud laugh. " Well, Joe, that seems funny, 
anyhow !" He appealed to his companion, who concurred in tne 
opinion, and they both laughed heartily. This was all very 
funny to the strangers, but not at all so to Grimaldi : he had a 
vague idea that they were rather laughing at than with him, 
and as much offended as surprised, was turning away, when the 
person who had spoken first said, in rather a tremulous voice, 

" Joe, don't you know me now ?" 

He turned, and gazed at him again. He had opened his 
shirt, and was pointing to a scar upon his breast, the sight of 
which at once assured him^that it was no other than his brother 
who stood before him, his only brother, who had disappeared 
under the circumstances narrated in an earlier part of these 

Thev were naturally much affected by this meeting, especially 
the elder brother, who had been so suddenly summoned into the 
presence of the near relative whom long ago he had given up 
tor lost. They embraced again and again, and gave vent to 
their feelings in tears. 

" Come up stairs," said Grimaldi, as soon as the first surprise 
was over; "Mr. Wroughton is there Mr. Wroughton, who 
was the means of your going to sea, he'll be delighted to see 1 
you." The brothers were hurrying away, when the friend^ 
whose presence they had quite forgotten in their emotion, said, 

" Well, John, then I'll wish you good night !" 

"Good night! good night!" said the other, shaking his 
hand ; "I shall see you in the morning." 

" Yes," replied the friend ; " at ten, mind !" 

*' At ten precisely : I shall not forget," answered John. 

The Mend, to whom he had not introduced his brother in any 


way, departed ; > and they went upon the stage together, 
where Grimaldi introduced his brother to Powell, Bannister, 
Wroughton, and many others in the green-room, who, attracted 
by the singularity of his return under such circumstances, had 
collected round tnem. 

Having his stage business to attend to, he had very little 
time for conversation ; but of course he availed himself of every 
moment that he could spare off the stage, and in answer to his 
inquiries, his brother assured him that his trip had been 
eminently successful. 

"At this moment," he said, slapping his breast-pocket, "I 
have six hundred pounds here." 

" Why, John," said his brother, "it's very dangerous to carry 
so much money about with you !" 

"Dangerous!" replied John, smiling; "we sailors know 
nothing about danger. But, my lad, even if all this wer 
gone, I should not be penniless." And he gave a knowing wink, 
which induced his brother to believe that he had indeed " made 
a good trip of it." 

At this moment Grimaldi was again called upon the stage ; 
and Mr. Wroughton, taking that opportunity of talking to his 
brother, made many kind inquiries of him relative to his success 
and the state of his finances. In reply to these questions he 
made in effect the same statements as he had already communi- 
cated to Joseph, and exhibited as evidence of the truth of his 
declarations a coarse canvas bag, stuffed full of various coins, 
which he carefully replaced in his pocket again. 

As soon as the comedy was ended, Grimaldi joined him; and 
Mr. Wroughton, haying congratulated his brother on his return, 
and the fortunate issue of his adventures, bade them good 
night ; when Grimaldi took occasion to ask how long the sailor 
had been in town. 

He replied, two or three hours back; that he had merely 
tarried to get some diiiner, and had come straight to the 
theatre. In answer to inquiries relative to what he intended 
doing, he said he had not bestowed a thought upon the matter, 
and that the only topic which had occupied his mind was his 
anxiety to see his mother and brother. A long and affectionate 
conversation ensued, in the course of which it was proposed by 
Joseph, that as his mother lived with himself and wife, and 
they had a larger house than they required, the brother should 
join them, and they should all live together. To this the 
brother most gladly and joyfully assented, and adding that h 
must see his mother that night, or his anxiety would not suffe* 
him to sleep, asked where she lived. 

Grimaldi gave him the address directly ; but, as he did not 
play in the afterpiece, said, that he had done for the night, and 
that if he would wait while he changed his dress, he would go 

u 2 


with him. His brother was, of course, glad to hear there was 
no necessity for them to separate, and Grimaldi hurried away to 
his dressing-room, leaving him on the stage. 

The agitation of his feelings, the suddenness of his brother's 
return, the good fortune which had attended him in his absence, 
the gentility of his appearance, and his possession of so much 
money, all together confused him so, that he could scarcely use 
his hands. He stood still every now and then quite lost in 
wonder, and then suddenly recollecting that his brother was 
waiting, looked over the room again and again for articles of 
dress that were lying before him. At length, after having 
occupied a much longer time than usual in changing his dress, 
he was ready, and ran down to the stage. On his way he met 
Powell, who heartily congratulated him on the return of his 
relative, making about the thirtieth who had been kind enough 
to do so already. _ Grimaldi asked him, more from nervousness 
than for information, if he had seen him lately. 

" Not a minute ago," was the reply ; " he is waiting for you 
upon the stage. I wont detain you, for he complains that you 
have been longer away now, than you said you would be." 

Grimaldi hurried down stairs to the spot where he had left 
his brother. He was not there. 

"Who are you looking for, Joe?" inquired Bannister, as he 
saw him looking eagerly about. 

" For my brother," he answered. " I left him here a little 
while back." 

" Well, and I saw and spoke to him not a minute ago," said 
Bannister. "When he left me, he went in that direction 
(pointing towards the passage that led towards the stage-door) . 
1 should think he had left the theatre." 

Grimaldi ran to the stage-door, and asked the porter if his 
brother had passed. The man said he had, not a minute back ; 
he could not have got out of the street by that time. 

He ran out at the door, and then up and down the street 
several times, but saw nothing of him. Where could he be 
gone to ? Possibly, finding him longer gone than he had anti- 
cipated, he might have stepped out to call upon one of his old 
friends close by, whom he had not seen for so many years, with 
the intention of returning to the theatre. This was not un- 
likely ; for in the immediate neighbourhood there lived a Mr. 
Bowley, who had been his bosom friend when they were boys. 
The idea no sooner struck Grimaldi than he ran to the house 
and knocked hastily at the door. The man himself answered 
the knock, and was evidently greatly surprised. 

" I have indeed seen your brother," he said, in reply to Gri- 
maldi's question. " Good God ! I was never so amazed in all 
my life." 

' Is he here now r" was the anxious inquiry. 


" No ; but he lias not been gone a minute ; lie cannot have 
gone many yards." 

" Which way ?" 

" That way, towards Duke-street." 

" He must have gone," thought Grrimaldi, " to call on Mr. 
Bailey, our old landlord." He hurried away to the house in 
Great Wild-street, and knocked long and loudly at the door. 
The people were asleep. He knocked again and rang violently, 
being in a state of great excitement ; at length a servant- girl 
thrust her head out of an upper window, and said, both sulkily 
and sleepily, 

" I tell you again, he is not at home." 

" What are you talking about ? Who is not at home ?" 

"Why, Mr. Bailey: I told you so before. What do you 
keep on knocking for, at this time of night ?" 

He could not understand a word of all this, but hurriedly 
told his name, and requested the girl to come down directly, for 
he wished to speak to her. The head was directly withdrawn, 
the window closed, and in a minute or two afterwards the girl 
appeared at the street door. 

" I'm sure I beg your pardon, sir," she said, after pouring 
forth a volume of apologies. " But there was a gentleman here 
knocking and ringing very violently not a minute before you 
came. I told him Mr. Bailey was not at home ; and when I 
heard you at the door, I thought it was him, and that he would 
not go away." 

Grimaldi was breathless with the speed he had made, and 
trembling with vague apprehensions of ne knew not what. He 
asked if she had seen the gentleman's face. The girl, surprised 
at his emotion, replied that she had not ; she had only answered 
him from the window, being afraid to open the door to a 
stranger so long after dark, when all the family were out. The 
only thing she had noticed was that he had got a white waist- 
coat on ; for she had thought at the time, seeing him dressed, 
that perhaps he might have called to take her master to a party. 

He must have gone back to the theatre. 

He left the surprised girl standing at the door, and ran to 
Drury Lane. Here, again, he was disappointed; he had not 
been seen. He ran from place to place, and from house to 
house, wherever he thought it possible his brother could have 
called, but nobody had heard of or seen him. Many of the per- 
sons to whom he appealed openly expressed their doubts^ to each 
other of his sanity of mina ; which were really not without a 
shadow of probability, seeing that he knocked them out of their 
beds, and, with every appearance of agitation and wildness, 
demanded if they had seen his brother, whom nobody had 
heard of for fourteen years, and whom most of them considered 


It was so late now, that the theatre was just shutting up ; 
but he ran back once more, and again inquired if his brother had 
been there. Hearing he had not, he concluded that, recollecting 
the address he had mentioned, he had gone straight to his 
mother's home. This seemed probable ; and yet he felt a degree 
of dismay and alarm which he had never before experienced, 
even when there were good grounds for such feelings. 

The more he thought of this, however, the more probable it 
seemed, and he blamed himself as he walked quickly homewards 
for not having thought of it sooner. He remembered the 
anxiety his brother had expressed to see their mother, the plan 
they had discussed for their all living together, and the many 
little schemes of future happiness which they had talked over in 
their hurried interview, and in all of which she was comprised. 
He reached home, and, composing himself as well as he could, 
entered the little room in which they usually supped after the 
play. His brother was not there, but his mother was, and, as 
she looked much paler than usual, he thought she had seen, 

" Well, mother," he said, " has anything strange occurred 
here to-night?" 

" No ; nothing that I have heard of." 

"What! no stranger arrived! no long-lost relative re- 
covered!" exclaimed Grimaldi, all his former apprehensions 

" What do you mean r" 

"Mean! Why, that John is come home safe and well, and 
with money enough to make all our fortunes." 

His mother screamed wildly at this intelligence and fainted ; 
she recovered after a time, and Grimaldi recounted to her and 
his wife the events of the evenin/;, precisely as they are here 

They were greatly amazed at the recital. The mother held 
that he would be sure to come before the night was over; that 
he had probably met with some of his old friends, and would be 
there after he had left them. _She insisted that Grimaldi, who 
was tired, should go to bed, while she sat up and waited for her 
son. He did so, and the mother remained all through the long 
night anxiously expecting his arrival. 

This may appear a long story, but its conclusion invests it 
with a degree of interest which warrants the detail. The 
Cunning away to sea of a young man, and his return after a 
japse of years, is, and ever has been, no novelty in this island. 
This is not the burden of the tale. It possessed an awful interest 
to those whom it immediately concerned, and cannot fail to have 
some for the most indifferent reader. 

Prom that night in November, 1803, to this month of January, 
1838, the missing man was never seen again ; nor was anyintel- 


ligence, or any clue of the faintest or most remote description, 
ever obtained by bis friends respecting him. 

Next morning, and many mornings afterwards, the mother 
still anxiously and hopelessly expected the arrival of her son. 
Again and again did she question Grimaldi about him his ap- 
pearance, his manner, what he said, and all the details of his 
disappearance ; again and again was every minute fact recalled, 
and every possible conjecture hazarded relative to his fate. He 
could scarcely persuade himself but that the events of the pre- 
ceding night were a delusion of his brain, until the inquiries 
after his brother, which were made by those who had seen him 
on the previous night, placed them beyond all doubt. He com- 
municated to his friends the strange history of the last few 
hours, with all the circumstances of his brother's sudden appear- 
ance, and of his equally sudden disappearance. He was ad- 
vised to wait a little while before he made the circumstance 
public, in the hope that he might have been induced to spend 
the night with some shipmates, and might speedily return. 

But a week passed away, and then further silence would have 
been criminal, and he proceeded to set on foot every inquiry 
which his own mind could suggest, or the kindness of his friends 
prompted them to advise. A powerful nobleman who at that 
time used to frequent Drury Lane Theatre, and w r ho had on, 
many occasions expressed his favourable opinion of Grimaldi, 
interested himself greatly in the matter, and set on foot a series 
of inquiries at the Admiralty : every source of information 
possessed by that establishment that was deemed at all likely 
to throw any light upon the subject was resorted to, but in vain ; 
the newspapers were searched to ascertain what ships had 
arrived in the river or upon the coast that day whence they 
came, what crews they carried, what passengers they had ; the 
police-officers were paid to search all London through, and en- 
deavour to gain some information, if it were only of the lost 
man's death. Everything was tried by the family, and by many 
very powerful friends whom the distressing nature of the 
inquiry raised up about them, to trace the object of their regret 
and labour, but all in vain. The sailor was seen no more. 

Various surmises were afloat at the time regarding the real 
nature of this mysterious transaction ; many of them, of course, 
were absurd enough, but the two most probable conjectures 
appear to have been hazarded many years afterwards, and when 
all chance of the man being alive were apparently at an end, 
the one by the noble lord who had pursued the investigation at 
the Admiralty, and the other by a shrewd long-headed police- 
officer, who had been employed to set various inquiries on foot 
JT- the neighbourhoood of the theatre. 

The former suggested that a press-gang, to whom the person 
of the brother was known, might possibly have pounced upon 


him in some by-street, and have carried him off; in which case, 
as he had previously assumed a false name, the fact of his friends 
receiving no intelligence of him was easily accounted for ; while, 
as nothing could be more probable than that he was slain in one 
of the naval engagements so rife about that time, his never 
appearing again was easily explained. This solution of the 
mystery, however, was by no means satisfactory to his friends, 
as it was liable to many very obvious doubts and objections, 
Upon the whole, they felt inclined to give far more credence to 
the still more tragical, but, it is to be feared, more probable 
explanation which the experience of the police-officer sug- 

This man was of opinion that the unfortunate subject of their 
doubts had been lured into some low infamous den, by persons 
who had either previously known ^r suspected that he had a 
large sum of money in his possession ; that here he was plun- 
dered, and afterwards either murdered in cold blood, or slain in 
some desperate struggle to recover his gold. This conjecture 
was encouraged by but too many corroboratory circumstances : 
the sailor was of a temper easily persuaded : he had all the 
recklessness and hardihood of a seafaring man, only increased 
by the possession of prize-money and the release from hard 
work : he had money, and a very large sum of money, about 
him, the greater part in specie, and not in notes, or any security 
which it would be difficult or dangerous to exchange : all this 
was known to his brother and to Mr. Wroughton, both eye- 
witnesses of the fact. 

One other circumstance deserves a word. It was, both at the 
time and for a long period afterwards, a source of bitter, although 
of most groundless self-reproach to Grrimaldi, that he could not 
sufficiently recollect the appearance of the man who accompanied 
his brother to the stage- door of the theatre, to describe his per- 
son. If he could have been traced out, some intelligence re- 
specting the > poor fellow might perhaps have been discovered ; 
but Grrimaldi was so much moved by the unexpected recognition 
of his brother, that he scarcely bestowed a thought or a look 
upon his companion : nor, after taxing his memory for many 
years, could he ever recollect more than that he was dressed in 
precisely the same attire as his brother, even down to the white 
waistcoat ; a circumstance which had not only been noticed by 
himself, but was well remembered by the door-keeper, and 
others who had passed in and out of the theatre during the 
time the two young men were standing in the lobby. 

Recollecting the intimate terms upon which the two appeared 
to be, and the appointment which was made between them for 
the following morning, " at ten precisely," there is little reason 
to doubt that if the sailor had disappeared without the know- 
ledge or privity of his companion, the latter would infallibly 


have applied to Grimaldi to know where his brother was. 
Coupling the fact of his never doing so, and never being seen 
or heard of again, with the circumstance of the lost man never 
Having evinced the least inclination to take him home with him, 
to retain him when he was in his brother's company, or even to 
introduce him in the slightest manner, (from all of which it 
would seem that he was some bad or doubtful character,) the 
family arrived at the conclusion, if it hould ever be an unjust 
one, it will be forgiven, that this man was cognizant of, if 
indeed he was not chiefly instrumental a bringing about, the 
untimely fate of the murdered man, for uch they always sup- 
posed him. Whether they were right or wrong in this con- 
clusion will probably ever remain unknown. 



1803 to 1805. 

Bologna and his Family An Excursion into Kent with that personage Mr. 
Mackintosh, the gentleman of landed property, and his preserves A great 
day's sporting; and a, scene at the Garrick's Head in Bow-street between a 
Landlord, a Gamekeeper, Bologna, and Grimaldi. 

SIGNOB, BOLOGNA, better known to Ms intimates by the less 
euphonious title of Jack Bologna, was a countryman of Grrimaldi's 
father, having been, like him, born at Genoa ; he had been well 
acquainted with hirn^ indeed, previously to his coming to 
England. He arrived in this country, with Ids wife, two sons, 
and a daughter, in 1787.* The signor was a posture-master, 
and his wife a slack- wire dancer ; John his eldest son (after- 
wards the well-known harlequin), Louis his second son, and 
Barbara the youngest child, were all dancers. They were first 
engaged at Sadler's Wells, and here an intimacy commenced 
between Bologna and Grimaldi, which lasted during the re- 
mainder of their lives ; they were children when it commenced, 

* Pietro Bologna made his first appearance at Sadler's Wells on Easter 
Monday, April, 1786, when the bill announced " New Comic and Entertaining 
Performances on the Slack Wire, by Signor Pietro Bologna ; being his first 
appearance in this kingdom. Kope-dancing by the Little Devil, Mr. Casamire, 
and Madame La Eomaine, being also her first appearance in this kingdom. 
Clown to the Eope, by Signor Pietro Bologna." Miss Eomanzini, afterwards 
the distinguished ballad vocalist, Mrs. Bland, appeared also on the same evening. 
On July 13, 1789, the bills announced performances on the Tight Eope by the 
Little Devil, Master Bologna, and La Belle Espagnole. This was the first public 
appearance of John Peter Bologna, professionally distinguished by the appella- 
tion of " Jack Bologna." 

In April, 1792, the performances on the opening of Sadler's Wells were par- 
ticularized by " Extraordinary Exhibitions of Postures and Feats of Strength by 
Signor Bologna and his Children;" these were his sons, John and Louis. 
Bologna and his family left the Wells at the close of the season, 1794 ; and at 
Easter, 1795, the whole were employed at Jones's Eoyal Circus. In the Pan- 
tomime of " The Magic Feast," in September, Signor Bologna played Pantaloon j 
his son, John, afterwards distinguished in the bills as Mr. Bologna, jun., played 
Harlequin ; and the Signer's wiie, Mrs. Bologna, a fishwoman. 

Jack Bologna returned to Sadler's Wells, after an absence of eight years, on 
Easter Monday, April 19, 1802. He played Satani, in " The Great Devil ; or, 
The Eobber of Genoa ;" and for some years was Harlequin to Joe's Clown, both 
at Covent Garden Theatre and Sadler's Wells, with what reputation thousands 
even now can attest. Subsequently Joe and he became allied : Bologna having 
married Louisa Maria Bristow, sister of Grimaldi's second wife, Mary Bristow. 


playing about the street in the morning-, and at the theatre at 

The signer and his family remained at Sadler's Wells until 
1793, when Mr. Harris engaged him and his children (his wife 
had died hefore this time) at Covent Garden, where they re- 
mained for several years ; Bologna playing during the summer 
months at the Surrey Circus, as Grimaldi used to act at Sadler's 
Wells. In 1801 he left Covent Garden, and in 1803 the Circus ; 
upon the conclusion of the latter engagement, he was immedi- 
ately secured for the ensuing seas9n at Sadler's Wells, Avhere he 
reappeared on Easter Monday in 1804. During the many 
years which had passed away since he closed his first engagement 
at Sadler's Wells, he and Grimaldi had been necessarily pre- 
vented by their different occupations from seeing much of each 
other ; but being now once more engaged at the same theatre, 
their old intimacy was renewed. Their wives becoming at- 
tached to each other, and their engagements being pretty much 
the same, they were constantly at each other's houses, or in each 
other's society. They met with a droll adventure in company, 
which may as well be related in this place. 

Drury Lane closed in June and reopened on the 4th of Oc- 
tober ; but, as usual, Grimaldi' s services were not required until 
Christmas. He had been in great request at Sadler's Wells ; 
for the season was one of the heaviest the performers had ever 
known. The < two friends were speaking of this one evening, 
and complaining of their great fatigue, when Bologna recalled 
to mind that he had a friend residing in Kent who had repeatedly 
invited him down to his house for a few days' shooting, and to 
take a Mend with him; he proposed, therefore, that he and 
Grimaldi should go down by way of relaxation. On the 6th of 
November, accordingly, the friend having been previously ap- 
prized of their intention, and having again returned a most 
pressing invitation, they left town in a gig hired for the pur- 

On the road, Bologna told his friend that the gentleman whom, 
they were going down to visit was an individual of the name of 
Mackintosh ; that he was understood to be wholly unconnected 
with any business or profession, that he was a large landed pro- 
prietor, and that he had most splendid preserves. The intel- 
ligence pleased Grimaldi ver^f much, as he looked forward to a 
very stylish visit, and felt quite elated with the idea of culti- 
vating the acquaintance of so great a man. 

" I have _never seen his place myself," said Bologna ; " but 
when he is in London, he is always about the theatres, and he 
has often asked me to come down and have some shooting." 

They were talking thus, when they arrived at Bromley, 
which was about two miles and a half from the place to which 
they were bound. Here they met a man in a fustian jacket, 
driving a tax-cart, drawn by a very lame little horse, who 


suddenly pulled up, hailed the party with a loud " Hallo ! " and 
a " Well, Joe, here you are ! " 

Grimaldi was rather surprised at this intimate salutation from 
a stranger ; and he was a little more so when Bologna, after 
shaking hands very heartily with the man in fustian, intro- 
duced him as the identical Mr. Mackintosh whom they were 
going down to visit. 

" I'm glad to see you, Joe," said Mr. Mackintosh with an air 
of patronage. " I thought I'd meet you here and show you the 

Grimaldi made some suitable acknowledgments for this po- 
liteness, and the tax-cart and the gig went on together. 

" I am sorry you have hit upon a bad day for coming down 
here, so far as the shooting goes," said Mackintosh, "for to- 
morrow is a general fast. At any rate you can walk about and 
look at the country ; and the next day the next day wont we 
astonish the natives !" 

"Are there plenty of birds this year?" inquired Bologna. 

"Lots lots," replied the other man, whose manner and 
appearance scarce bore out Grimaldi's _ preconceived notion of 
the gentleman they were going to visit. If he were already 
surprised, however, he had much greater cause to be so even- 

After travelling upwards of two miles, Bologna inquired if 
they were not near their place of destination. 

" Certainly," answered Mackintosh ; " that is my house." 

Looking in tlie direction pointed out, their eyes were greeted 
with the appearance of a small road-side public-house, in front 
of which hung a sign-board, bearing the words "Good enter- 
tainment for man and beast " painted on it, and beneath the 
name of " Mackintosh." Bologna looked at Grimaldi, and then 
at the public-house, and then at the man in the fustian jacket ; 
but he was far too much engaged in contemplating with evident 
satisfaction the diminutive dwelling they were approaching, to 
regard the surprise of his companions. " Yes," he said, "that 
house contains the best of wines, ales, beds, tobacco, stabling, 
skittle-grounds, and every other luxury." 

" I beg your pardon," interposed Bologna, who was evidently 
mortified, while Grimaldi had a strong and almost irresistible 
inclination to laugh, " but I thought you were not connected 
with business at all ?" 

" No more I am," said Mackintosh, with a wink ; " the busi- 
ness belongs to mother !" 

Bologna looked inexpressibly annoyed, and Grimaldi laughed 
outright, at which Mr. Mackintosh seemed rather pleased than 

the tax-cart, "or stroll out with my gun or my nshing-rocl. 


Mother's quite a woman of business ; but as I am an only child, 
I suppose I shall have to look after it myself some day or 

He remained silent a moment, and then said, touching 
Bologna smartly with his whip, " I suppose, old fellow, you 
didn't think you were coming to a public-house eh ?" 

" Indeed I did not," was the sulky reply. 

" Ah ! I thought you'd be surprised, said Mackintosh, with 
a hearty laugh. "I never let my London friends know who 
or what I am, except they're very particular friends, like 
you and Joe, for instance. I just lead them to guess I'm a 
great man, and there I leave 'em. What does it matter what 
other ^ idea strangers have about one ? But here we are, so get 
out of your gig ; and rest assured you shall have as hearty a 
welcome as you'll ever get at a nobleman's house." 

There was something hearty and pleasant in the man's 
manner, despite his coarseness ; so, finding that Bologna was 
not inclined to speak, Grimaldi said something civil himself ; 
which was extremely well received by their host, who shook 
his hand warmly, and led them into the house, where, being 
introduced to Mrs. Mackintosh by her son, as particular friends 
of his, they were received with great hospitality, and shortly 
afterwards sat down in the little bar to a capital plain dinner, 
which, in conjunction with some sparkling ale, rather tended ta 
soothe the wounded spirit of Bologna. 

After dinner they walked about the neighbourhood, wMclj 
was all very pleasant, and returning to supper, were treated 
with great hospitality. On retiring to rest, Bologna acknow- 
ledged that "matters might have been worse," but before pro- 
nouncing a final opinion, prudently waited to ascertain how the 
preserves would turn out. On the following day they divided 
their time pretty equally between eating, drinking, chatting 
with the chance customers of the house, their host and his 
mother, and, though last, not least, preparing their guns for 
the havoc which they purposed making the next morning in 
the preserves of Mr. Mackintosh, of which preserves he still 
continued to speak in terms of the highest praise. 

Accordingly, they met at the breakfast-table a full hour 
earlier than on the previous day, and having despatched a 
hearty meal, sallied forth, accompanied by Mr. Mackintosh, 
who declined carrying a gun, and contented himself with show- 
ing the way. Having walked some little distance, they came 
to a stile, which they climbed over, and after traversing a plot 
of pasture-land arrived at a gate, beyond which was a field of 
fine buckwheat. Here the guide called a halt. 

" "Wait a minute ! wait a minute 1" cried he ; " you are not 
so much accustomed to sporting as I." 

They stopped. He advanced to the gate, looked over, and 
hastily returned. 


" Now's the time !" he said eagerly; "there's lots of birds in 
that field!" They crept very cautiously onwards: but when 
they reached the gate and saw beyond it, were amazed to 
discern nothing but an immense quantity of pigeons feeding in 
the field. 

" There 's a covey !" said Mackintosh, admiringly. 

"A covey!" exclaimed Grimaldi. "Where? I see nothing 
but pigeons . 

" Nothing but pigeons ! " exclaimed Mackintosh, con- 
temptuously. "What did you expect to find? Nothing but 
pigeons ! Well!" 

*' I expected to find pheasants and partridges," answered 
both sportsmen together. Bologna, upon whom the sulks were 
again beginning to fall, gave a grunt of disapprobation ; but 
Mackintosh either was, or pretended to be, greatly surprised. 

" Pheasants and partridges !" he exclaimed, with a ludicrous 
expression of amazement. " Oh dear, quite out of the ques- 
tion ! I invited you down here to shoot birds and pigeons are 
birds ; and there are the pigeons shoot away, if you like. I 
have performed my part of the agreement. Pheasants and 
partridges !" he repeated : " most extraordinary !" 

"The fellow's a humbug!" whispered Bologna; "kill as 
many of his pigeons as you can." 

With this understanding, Bologna fired at random into the 
nearest cluster of pigeons, and Grimaldi fired upon them as 
they rose frightened from the ground. The slaughter was very 
great: they picked up twenty in that field, five in the one 
beyond, and saw besides several fall which they could not find. 
This great success, and the agreeable employment of picking 
up the birds, restored their equanimity of temper, and all went 
well for some time, until Mackintosh said inquiringly, 

" I think you have them all now ?" 

"I suppose we have," replied Bologna ; "at least, all except 
those which we saw fall among the trees yonder." 

" Those you will not be able to get," said Mackintosh. 

"Very good; such being the case, we have 'em all," re- 
turned Bologna. 

"Very well," said Mackintosh, quietly; "and now, if you 
will take my advice, you will cut away at once." 

" Cut away !" said Bologna. 

" Cut away !" exclaimed Grimaldi. 

" Cut away is the word !" repeated Mr. Mackintosh. 

"And why, pray ?" asked Bologna. 

" Why ?" said Mr. Mackintosh. " Isn't the reason obvious ? 
Because you've killed the pigeons." 

" But what has our killing these pigeons to do with cutting 
away ?" 

" Bless us !" cried Mackintosh, " you are not very bright to- 
day ! Don't you see that when the squire comes to hear of it, 


he'll be very angry. Now, what can be plainer, if he is very 
angry, as I know he will be, then if you are here, he'll put you 
in prison ? Don't you 'stand that. ISTo, no : what I say is, cut 
away at once, and don't stop for him to catch you." 

" Pooh !" said Bologna, with a contemptuous air, " I see you 
know nothing of the law. There's not a squire in all England 
who has power to put us in prison, merely because we have 
killed your pigeons, although we may not have taken out 

"My pigeons!" exclaimed Mackintosh. "Lord help you! 
they're none o' mine ! they belong to the squire, and very fond 
of them he is, and precious savage he'll be when he finds out 
how you have been peppering them. So there I come back again 
to what I set out with. If you two lads will take my advice, 
now you've got your pigeons, you'll cut away with them." 

The remarkable disclosure contained in this little speech 
fairly overwhelmed them ; they stared at each other in stupid 
surprise, which shortly gave way first to anger and then to fear. 
They were greatly awed at contemplating the risk which they 
had incurred of being " sent to prison ;" and after a few words 
of angry remonstrance addressed to Mr. Mackintosh, which 
that gentleman heard with a degree of composure and philo- 
sophy quite curious to behold, they concluded that they had 
better act upon his advice, and " cut away_" at once. 

They lost no time in returning to the inn ; and here, while 
they were engaged in packing up the "birds," the singular 
host got a nice luncheon ready, of^ which they did not fail to 
partake, and then mounting their gig, they bade farewell to him 
and his mother, the former of whom at Carting appeared so 
much delighted, and vented so many knowing winks, that for 
very life they could not help laughing outright. 

On the following morning, Bologna and Grimaldi encountered 
each other by chance in Covent Garden. Grimaldi had been to 
I)rury Lane to see if he were wanted, and Bologna had been 
into the Strand, in which, during the winter months, when he 
was not engaged at any theatre, he had an exhibition. They 
laughed heartily at meeting, as the recollection of the day 
previous, and its adventures came upon them, and finally 
adjourned to the Garrick's Head, in Bow- street, to have a glass 
of sherry and a biscuit, and once more talk the matter over. 
The house was then kept by a man of the name of Spencer, who 
had formerly been harlequin at Drury Lane, but who, having 
left the profession, had turned Boniface instead. He was 
standing at the door when they arrived, and all three being 
upon intimate terms, was invited to join in a glass of wine ; to 
this he readily assented, and they adjourned to his jprivate 
room, where the Kentish adventures were related, to his great 
amusement and pleasure. 

"By the by, though," he said, when the merriment was 


pretty well over, " I wish you had happened to mention to mo 
that you wanted a few days' shooting, for I could have procured 
that for you with the greatest ease. I was born at Hayes, and 
all my relatives live in Kent; besides, I know pretty well 
every gamekeeper in the county ; in fact, when in town they 
invariably come to this house, and would have been delighted 
to have obliged any friend of mine." 

" Ah !" said Bologna, " and in that case we should have had 
birds to shoot at, and not pigeons." 

Here Mr. Spencer indulged in a laugh which was interrupted 
by the entrance of a young man, who, though unknown to 
.Bologna and Grimaldi, appeared well acquainted with the land' 
lord, who, after shaking him warmly by the hand and bidding 
him be seated, said, " But, Joseph, what has brought you so 
suddenly to town ?" 

" Oh, drat it !" exclaimed the new-comer, " very disagreeable 
business indeed. There were two vagabonds down in our parts 
yesterday from London, and they killed and stole fifty or sixty 
of master's pigeons. I've come up here to find them out and 
apprehend them : I've got a constable drinking in the tap." 

This information rather flustered them, and Bologna turned 
as pale as death ; but the host, after indulging in two winks, 
and one fit of reflection, quietly said, 

" Well, but Joseph, how can you find them out, think you ? 
London's a large place, Joseph." 

"Why, I'll tell you," replied the gamekeeper, for such, as 
they afterwards discovered, he was. " I found out, that the 
rascals had been staying at Mrs. Mackintosh's house, and were 
friends of her son ; so I went to him last night and asked him 
where the fellows were. * Oh,' says he, ' I know what you've 
come about: they've cut away with them pigeons !' 'Yes,' says 
I ; * and unless you tell me wnere they've cut away to, I shall 
make you answerable.' ' Oh,' says he again, ' I know nothing 
about 'em ; they're no friends of mine,' he says, ' they're only 
play-actors : one's a Clown and t' other's a Harlequin at one of 
the London theatres.' And this was all I could get from him ; 
so up I came this morning, and knowing that you were ac- 
quainted with theatrical people, I thought I'd come and ask you 
which of the Clowns and which of the Harlequins it was most 
likely to be." 

" Is the squire very angry?" asked Spencer. 

" Oh, very," responded Joseph, with a shake of the head : 
" he's determined to pursue them to the very extremity of the 

Upon hearing this, Grimaldi was much troubled in mind ; not 
that he thought Spencer was a man likely to betray his friends, 
but fearing that by some inadvertence he might disclose what 
he felt certain his will would prompt him to conceal. As to 
Bologna, his agitation alone was sufficient to announce the real 


state of the fact ; for, in addition to a ghastly paleness which 
overspread his face, he trembled so much, that in an attempt to 
convey some wine to his lips, he deposited it upon his knees and 
left it tnere, staring all the while at the gamekeeper with a most 
crest-fallen visage. 

" There's one thing the squire appears to have forgotten," said 
Spencer, " and that is simply this that before he can pursue 
these fellows to the extremity of the law, he has got to find 

"True," answered Joseph; "and unless you assist me, I'r/ 
afraid I sha'n't be able to do that. I suppose, now, there are 
good many Clowns and Harlequins in London, eh ?" 

" A great many," replied Spencer. " I am one, for instance." 

" Oh !" smiled the gamekeeper, " but it isn't you." 

" That's true," said the host, composedly. " But I'U tell you 
what; it is two particular friends of mine, though, who did 

Joseph exclaimed, " Indeed !" and Bologna gave Grimaldi a 
look which clearly evidenced his conviction, firstly, that 
it was all up, and secondly, that it was impossible to " cut 

" Friends of yours hey ?" said Joseph, ruminating. " Then I 
expect you wont assist me in finding them out ?" 

"Not a bit of it," answered Spencer, "so you may go and 
look among the Harlequins and Clowns yourself, and Heaven 
help you ! for the jokes they will play and the tricks they will 
serve you will be enough to wear your heart out." 

Joseph looked greatly mortified at this compassionate speech, 
and, after a moment's pause, stammered out something about 
" that being Mr. Spencer's friends, it made a greattlifference." 

" I'll tell you what it is, Joseph," said the landlord ; " say no 
more about this affair, and my two friends will pay a reasonable 
sum for the pigeons, and stand a rumpsteak dinner and a bottle 
of wine this very day. What say you ?" 

Joseph's countenance brightened up. " Oh !" said he, " as to 
the pigeons, of course, I could manage. If the gentlemen are 
friends of yours, consider the matter settled, I'll talk the 
squire over about the matter. And as to the steak and wine, 
why I don't mind partaking of them ; and, in return, they shall 
come down into Kent some day next week, and I'll give them a 
morning's shooting." 

" Then," said Spencer, rising formally, "these are the gentle- 
men. Gentlemen, this is Mr. Josjeph Clarke." 

All was satisfactorily settled : the rump-steak and wine were 
ordered, duly eaten and drunk, and they spent the afternoon 
together very jovially, accepting Mr. Clarke's invitation for 
another "day's shooting" with great alacrity ; nor did they 
omit keeping the appointment; but, on the day fixed, went 
once more into Kent, when, under the able guidance of their 



new acquaintance, they succeeded in killing and bagging four 
share and five brace of pheasants in less than two hours. 

They returned to town without seeing anything more of their 
friend Mr. Mackintosh, but being upon the very best terms with 
Mr. Joseph Clarke, who but for his really keeping his word 
and giving them a day's sport might be not unreasonably 
suspected of having been in league with the landlord to use 
the sportsmen for their joint amusement, and to extract a good 
dinner from them besides. 

At Drury Lane no novelty was brought out until the holidays. 
John Kemble had left the theatre on the termination of the 
previous season, and had become a proprietor of the other house, 
by purchasing the share in the establishment which had pre- 
viously belonged to Mr. W. Lewis. He became acting manager 
at once ; Mr. Wroughton succeeding to his (Mr. Kemble's) old 
situation at Drury Lane. 

In January, 1805, they brought out at Drury a most miserable 
specimen of a pantomime called "Harlequin's Fireside," which, 
contrary to the expectations of the company, ran till the follow- 
ing Easter, and was received, to their great amazement, with 
considerable applause. Mr. T. Dibdin, to whom Grimaldi 
expressed his surprise at its reception, admitted the poverty 
of the piece, and observed that the abilities of the actors had 
alone occasioned its success. Grimaldi says it was very kind of 
him to say so, and thinks that perhaps it might be. It is by no 
means improbable, for similar results are not unfrequent now-a- 

Sadler's "Wells reopened, as usual, at Easter, 1805 : Grimaldi 
and Bologna were again engaged, and the season was a very 
profitable one. "When " Harlequin's Fireside" had ceased run- 
ning, he did not play at Drury above half a dozen times during 
the rest of the season. The theatre closed in June, and re- 
opened again on the 21st of September, the performances being 
" Othello" and " Lodoiska," in which latter piece Grimaldi, his 
wife, and mother, all appeared. ^ 

On the conclusion ot the night's amusements, he had an 
interview with the acting manager, which, although at first 
both pleasing and profitable, led ^in less than six weeks to his 
departure from the theatre at which he had originally appeared, 
and in which he had constantly played, with all possible suc- 
cess, for nearly four-and-twenty years. 



1805 to 1806. 

Stage Affairs and Stage Quarrels Mr. Graham, the Bow Street Magistrate and 
Drury Lane Manager Mr. Peake Grimaldi is introduced to Mr. Harris by 
John Kemble Leaves Drury Lane and engages at Coyent Garden Mortifi- 
cation of the authorities at " the other house" He joins Charles Dibdin's 
Company and visits Dublin The wet Theatre 111 success of the speculation, 
and great success of his own Benefit Observations on the comparative 
strength of Whisky Punch and Hum Punch, with interesting experiments. 

THE manager of Drury Lane had advertised Tobin's comedy 
of " The Honey Moon" as the play for the second night of the 
season;* not recollecting, until it was too late to alter the bills, 
that in consequence of the secession of Mr. Byrne, who had 
been ballet-master, and the non-engagement of any other per- 
son in his place, there was no one to arrange the dance incidental 
to the piece. In this dilemma, Grrimaldi, who had been accus- 
tomed to arrange the^dances at Sadler's Wells, _ was sent for 
and, as soon as " Lodoiska" was over, the interview took place 
between him and the manager to which reference was made at 
the close of the last chapter. 

Mr. Wroughton, after stating that he was in a very unexpected 
dilemma, and that unless Grrimaldi would assist him he would 
have to change the piece for the ensuing night, which it was 
exceedingly desirable to avoid doing, if possible, briefly nar- 
rated the circumstances in which the theatre was placed, and 
concluded by offering him two pounds per week in addition to 
his regular salary, if he would arrange the dance in question, 
and assist in getting up any other little dances and processions 
that might be required. This offer he readily accepted, merely 
stipulating that the increased salary should be understood to 
extend over the whole season, and not merely until another 
ballet-master was engaged. Mr. "Wroughton observed, that 
nothing could be fairer, that this was what he meant, and that 

* rnry Lane opened for the season on September 14, 1805, with the " Country 
Girl," Peggy, Mrs. Jordan ; and the farce of " The Irishman in London. 
Byrne, and his son Oscar, had quitted at the close of the last season, and were 
engaged at Covent Garden ; and D'Egville had abandoned his situation at the 
King's Theatre, to succeed Byrne as ballet-master at Drury Lane : all this w 
known before the opening. 


Grimaldi had his instructions to engage as many male dancers as 
he might deem necessary. He at once entered upon his new office 
immediately engaged as many hands (or legs) as he required, 
arranged the dance during the night, called a rehearsal of it at 
ten in the morning, got it into a perfect state by twelve, rehearsed 
it again in its proper place in the comedy, and at night had the 
satisfaction of hearing it encored with great applause. 

At the end of the week, he received his increased salary from 
Mr. Peake, the treasurer, a gentleman well known and highly 
respected by all connected with the stage or theatrical literature, 
who shook him by the hand, congratulated him on this new 
improvement of his income, and cordially wished him success. 

Before he accepted the money, he said, "My dear sir, to 
vent any future difference, it is thoroughly understood, is it, 
this increase is for the season ?" 

" Undoubtedly," replied Mr. Peake : " I will show you, if 
you like, Mr. Graham's written order to me to that effect." 
This he did, and Grimaldi of course was perfectly satisfied. Mr. 
Graham, who was then a magistrate at Bow-street, was at the 
head of affairs at Drury Lane. 

All went on well for some little time. Mr. James D'Egville 
was engaged as ballet-master shortly afterwards ; but this made 
no alteration in the footing upon which Grimaldi was placed. 
There was no difference of opinion between the ballet-master 
and himself, for he continued to arrange the minor dances and 
processions, and his arrangements were repeatedly very warmly 
commended by Mr. D'Egville. 

A new grand ballet, called " Terpsichore," was produced by 
the latter gentleman immediately after his joining the company 
in which Grimaldi performed Pan, which he always considered 
a capital character, and one of the best he ever had to play. 
The ballet was got up to bring forward Madame Parisot,* who 

* The management of Drury Lane, in their desire of novelty, had engaged M. 
Joubert, and Mademoiselle Parisot, from the King's Theatre for the season. 
On October 24, it was underlined in the bill of the day, that she would appear 
for the first time, on that stage, on Monday, the 28th, in a new ballet, composed 
by M. D'Egville, entitled "Terpsichore's Eeturn;" it was, however, "owing 
to the indisposition of a principal performer," deferred a few days till Novem- 
ber 1. In this ballet, Grimaldi had a great part, that of Pan, in which he fell 
in love with Terpsichore, who, after favouring his pretensions, jilted him ; this 
allowed Joe full latitude of display, and the applause the ballet obtained had 
never been exceeded on the production of any drama or piece in that, or any 
other theatre. The ballet was performed the fifth time, on Saturday, November 
9, on which night Grimaldi quitted the theatre, and never afterwards was within 
jts walls. " Terpsichore's Keturn" was performed a sixth time, on Monday, 
November 25, and Pan was personated by George D'Egville, a pantomimist, 
and brother to James D'Egville, the ballet-master. George D'Egville had per- 
formed with great eclat the part of Caliban, at the Haymarket, in a similar 
ballet, derived from Shakspeare's "Tempest," and as his engagement was 
possibly on the tapis for Drury Lane, (Pan apparently having been designed for 
aim,) Joe fancying that two suns could not shine in the same sphere, broke the 
terms of hit engagement, and left the course clear to his successor. 


was engaged for the season, for one thousand guineas. It was 
thoroughly rehearsed, at least fourteen times before the night of 
performance ; was very favourably received, and had a good 

He was not a little surprised, on Saturday the 26th of October, 
when he went as usual to the treasury to draw his salary, to 
hear that thenceforth the extra two pounds would not be paid. 
Mr. Peake admitted that he was also very much surprised and 
annoyed at the circumstance, again producing Mr. Graham's 
letter, and candidly acknowledging, that in his opinion this 
ancalled-for attempt to rescind tne contract, which was none of 
Grimaldi's seeking, was very paltry. He immediately waited 
upon Mr. Wroughton and mentioned the circumstance, at which 
he too appeared greatly vexed, although it was not in his power 
to order the additional sum to be paid. He then mentioned the 
circumstance to his wife, dwelling upon it with great irritation ; 
but she, observing that it was of no consequence, for they could 
do very well without it, proposed that, having nothing to do at 
Drury Lane that night, they should go for an hour or two to 
Covent Garden. 

To this proposition he made no objection; so, as he passed 
down Bow-street, he called in upon Mr. T. Dibdin for an order, 
and the conversation happening naturally enough to turn upon 
theatrical affairs, mentioned what had just occurred at Drury 
Lane. Mr. Dibdin immediately expressed himself in very 
strong terms upon the subject, and counselled Grimaldi to with- 
draw from the theatre, and to accept an engagement at the 
other house. The advice generated a long conversation between 
them, which terminated in Grimaldi saying, Mr. Dibdin might, 
if he pleased, mention the subject to Mr. Harris, and say, if the 
Management were willing to engage him, he was willing to enter 
into articles for the following season. 

In the course of the evening, he received a note begging his 
attendance at Covent Garden on Monday, at twelve, and keeping 
the appointment, was ushered into a room in which were Mr. 
Hams and John Kemble. The latter greeted him in a very 
friendly manner, and said, 

"Well, Joe, I see you are determined to follow me." 

" Yes, sir," replied Grimaldi, who had been thinking of some- 
thing polite ; " you are a living magnet of attraction, Mr. 

At this Mr. Harris laughed and congratulated the tragedian 
on receiving so handsome a compliment. Kemble inquired of 
Grimaldi whether he knew Mr. Harris, and receiving a reply 
in the negative, introduced him to that gentleman as "Joe 
Grimaldi," whose father he had known well, who was a true 
chip of the old block, and the first low comedian in the country. 

Mr. Harris said a great many fine things in reply to these 


commendations, and, rising 1 , requested Grimaldi to follow him 
into an adjoining apartment. He did so, and in less than a 
quarter of an hour had signed articles for five seasons; the 
terms being, for the first season, six pounds per week ; for the 
second and third, seven pounds ; and for the fourth and fifth, 
eight pounds. Independent of these emoluments, he had several 
privileges reserved to him, among which was the very important 
one of permission to play at Sadler's Wells, as he had thereto- 
fore done. These arrangements being concluded, he took his 
leave, greatly satisfied with the improved position in which he 
stood, as up to that time he had only received four pounds per 
week at Drury Lane.* 

In the evening, he had to play Pan in the ballet at Drury. 
"When he had dressed for the part, he entered the green-room, 
which was pretty full of ladies and gentlemen, among whom 
was Mr Graham, who, the moment he saw him, inquired if a 
report that had reached him of Mr. Grimaldi's going to Covent 
Garden for the following season were correct. Grrimaldi replied 
in the affirmative, adding, that he was engaged at the other 
house not only for the following season, but for the four ensuing 

Mr. Graham started up in a state of considerable excitement 
on hearing this, and addressed the performers present, at con- 
siderable length, expatiating in strong language upon what he 
termed "Grimaldi's ingratitude" in leaving the theatre. 
Grimaldi waited patiently until he had concluded, and then, 
addressing himself to the same auditors, made a counter-state- 
ment, in which he recapitulated the whole of the circumstances 
as they had actually occurred. When he came to mention Mr. 

* The transfer of Joe's services from Drury Lane to the rival Theatre Covent 
Garden, is differently accounted for by Tom Dibdin, who was a party in the 
affair, and whose recollection of past facts was generally too correct to be called 
in question. Grimaldi's engagement at Covent Garden is stated to have been 
effected prior to his going to Peter-street, Dublin, in the pay of the two Dibdius; 
the contrary was the fact. After Grimaldi's return from Dublin, he sought 
employment at Covent Garden, nor is there reason tc doubt Dibdin's statement 
in any way. He says : " I had often pressed Mr. Harris to engage Grimaldi for 
my pantomimes, but his answer was, he would not be the first to infringe an 
agreement made between Drury Lane and Covent Garden, not to engage each 
other's performers until a twelvemonth had elapsed since such performers had 
eft their situations. Grimaldi, by going in our venture to Dublin, had now 
dissolved this obstacle ; and I one day met him at the stage-door of Covent 
Garden, waiting, as he told me, to see Mr. Shotter, a confidential servant of 
Mr. Harris, who would take up his name to the proprietor : he also told me 
what terms he meant to ask for three years, which were so very modest, and so 
much beneath his value, that I went immediately to Mr. Harris, and advised 
aim to offer a pound per week, the first year ; two, the second ; and three, the 
third, more than the sum Mr. Grimaldi had mentioned : this was done instant- 
aneously ; and the best clown ever seen on the stage, was retained for ' Mother 
Goose:' when I say the best, I do not except his father, whose vit comica I per- 
fectly well remember." Reminiscences, 1827, Vol. I. p. 399. 


Graham's letter to Mr. Peake, the treasurer, the former hastily 
interrupted him by demanding what letter he referred to. 

"The letter," replied Grimaldi, "in which you empowered 
Mr. Peake to pay the increased salary for the whole of the 

" If Mr. Peake showed you that letter," replied Mr. Graham, 
in a great passion, " Mr. Peake is a fool for his pains." 

" Mr. Peake," rejoined Grimaldi, " is a gentleman, sir, and a 
man of honour, and, I am quite certain, disdains being made 
a party to any such unworthy conduct as you have pursued 
towards me." 

A rather stormy scene followed, from which Grimaldi came 
off victorious ; Barrymore and others taking up his cause so 
vigorously, that Mr. Graham at length postponed any further 
discussion and walked away. Enough having taken place, 
however, to enable him to foresee that his longer stay at Drury 
Lane would only be productive of constant discomfort to himself, 
he gave notice to Mr. Graham on the following morning of his 
intention to leave the theatre on the ensuing Saturday week. 
This resolve gave rise to another battle between Mr. Graham 
and himself, in the course of which he was pleased to say, that 
he could not play the ballet without him, and, consequently, 
that if he left, he would bring an action against him for loss 
incurred by its not being performed. Grimaldi, however, firmly 
adhered to his original resolution: acting therein upon the 
advice of Mr. Hughes, who strenuously counselled him by no 
means to depart from it. 

Considering himself now at perfect liberty until Easter, he 
entered into an engagement to perform at Astley's theatre in 
Dublin, which had just been taken for a short period by Messrs. 
Charles and Thomas Dibdin. These gentlemen had engaged the 
greater part of the Sadler's Wells' company, including Bologna 
and his wife (who had been engaged by Mr. Harris for the next 
season at Covent Garden on the same day as Grimaldi himself), 
and they offered Grimaldi fourteen guineas a- week for himself, 
and two for his wife, half a clepr benefit at the end of the season, 
and all his travelling expenses both by land and sea. 

On the 9th of November he closed his engagement at Drury 
Lane, performing Pan in the ballet of "Terpsichore." He 
started on the following morning, accompanied by his wife, for 
Dublin, leaving his little son, who was in very weak health, at 
home. They had a very tedious journey to Holyhead, and a 
very stormy one from thence to Dublin ; experiencing the usual 
troubles from cold, sickness, fatigue, and otherwise, by the 
way. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dibdin, who had arrived first, 
received them with much cordiality and kindness; and they 
took lodgings at the house of a Mr. Davis, in Peter-street. 
On Mouday, November the 18th, the theatre opened, and their 


career was for some time eminently successful as long, indeed, 
as the fine weather lasted ; but no sooner did the rainy weather 
set in, than the manager discovered, to his horror and surprise, 
that the roof of the theatre, being in a dilapidated condition, was 
not waterproof. At length, one night towards the end of De- 
cember, a very heavy rain coming down during the performance, 
actually drove the audience out of the house. The water de- 
scended in torrents into the pit and boxes : some people who 
were greatly interested in the performances put up their 
umbrellas, and others put on great coats and shawls ; but at 
length it came down so heavily upon the stage, that the per- 
formers themselves were obliged to disappear. In a few minutes 
the stage was covered, the scenery soaked through, the pit little 
better than a well, and the boxes and gallery streaming with 

This unforeseen occurrence threw_both literally and figuratively 
a damp upon the performances which there was no recovering. 
From that time, with the single exception of one evening, the 
theatre was deserted. Tarpaulings, and all kinds of cheap 
remedies, were tried, but they all failed in producing their in- 
tended effect. They never kept the water out, or drew the com- 
pany in. As to any thorough repair of the roof, it was wholly 
out of the question ; for the I)ibdms only held the theatre until 
March, and the necessary repairs under this head alone would 
have cost at the very least 2001. 

In this state of things, Mr. Charles Dibdin was compelled to 
write to London for remittances wherewith to pay his company. 
Knowing exactly how he was situated, Grimaldi volunteered 
his services in the only way in which he could render them, and 
offered not to send to the treasury for his salary, but to leave it 
to be paid whenever the manager might appoint after their 
return to London. This offer, it is almost unnecessary to add, 
was gratefully accepted. 

About the middle of January, Mr. Jones, the manager of the 
Crow Street Theatre, hearing how badly the Astley's people were 
doing, and yet finding that, bad as their business was, it injured 
his, made an offer to Mr. Dibdin to take his company off his 
hands at the terms upon which he had originally engaged them, 
and for the remainder of the time specified in their articles, and 
further, to make some pecuniary compensation to Mr. Dibdin 
himself. _ The manager assembled the company on the stage, 
after their having had the mortification of playing to an empty 
house, on Tuesday, January the 28th, and communicated this 
offer to them, and earnestly urged upon them the acceptance 
of the proposal, as the only means by which himself and his 
brother could hope to recover any portion of the losses they had 
already sustained. Grimaldi at once expressed his readiness to 
accede to the proposition, and used his utmost influence with 


the other members of the company to induce them to do the 
like. He succeeded, except in the case of two of the performers, 
who preferred returning at once to England. 

When this was arranged to the satisfaction of all parties, Mr. 
Dibdin announced his intention to olose the theatre on the next 
Saturday, February the 1st. Grimaldi took the opportunity of 
inquiring what was to become of his half-benefit which had 
been agreed upon. The manager replied, with a melancholy 
smile, that he might give him anything he liked for his half- 
twenty pounds would do, and he should have the entire house 
next Saturday. Grrimaldi immediately paid the twenty pounds, 
and on the following morning commenced making preparations 
for his benefit, having barely four days in which to announce 
the performances, and sell his tickets. 

He had borne an introductory letter to Captain Trench, whose 
unvarying kindness to him on every possible occasion he most 
gratefully acknowledged, and to this gentleman he first men- 
tioned his intention of taking a benefit. He also mentioned it 
to his landlord. Their replies were characteristic. 

" Let me have a hundred box-tickets," said Captain Trench : 
' keep the two centre boxes for me. If I want any more tickets 
I'll send for them ; but here's the money for the hundred." 

" Give me a hundred pit-tickets," said the landlord. "If I 
can sell more, I will ; but here is the money for them." 

He had his bills printed and well circulated, but did no more 
business until the Saturday morning, which made him uneasy ; 
though the fact simply was, that the people were waiting to see 
how the weather would turn out ; very well knowing that if it 
were a wet night, the theatre would be the very worst place in 
which to encounter the rain. Fortune, however, was propitious ; 
the day was cloudless, fair, and beautiful ; and the result was, 
that after having at nine o'clock in the morning no one place 
taken except the two boxes bespoken by Captain Trench, at one 
o'clock in the afternoon not a single place remained unlet. At 
one time, when there was no doubt of the weather remaining 
dry, there were no fewer than sixteen carriages standing before 
his door, the owners of which were all anxious to obtain places, 
and all of whom he was reluctantly compelled to disappoint. 

The receipts of the house amounted to one hundred and ninety- 
seven pounds nineteen shillings, not to mention a variety of 
presents, including a magnificent gold snuff-box, from Captain 
Trench, which was worth, in weight alone, more than thirty 
pounds sterling. 

This purchase of Dibdin's half of the benefit for twenty 
pounds was not only a very fortunate thing for Grimaldi, but 
was, on the other hand, in some degree serviceable to Dibdin 
also, inasmuch as it enabled Grimaldi to oblige him with a loan 
f one hundred pounds, of which at that moment, in consequence 


of his undeserved misfortunes, lie stood much in need. This 
advance, together with salary due and other matters, left Mr. 
Dibdin indebted to Grimaldi in the sum of one hundred and 
ninety-six pounds, the whole of which was honourably repaid a 
few months afterwards. 

This benefit closed the season of the " wet" Theatre in Peter 
Street ; and on the following Monday, Grimaldi, and the greater 
part of the London company, appeared at the Crow Street 
Theatre, where they acted until the 29th of March. One cir- 
cumstance is sufficient to show that the performances were un- 
usually successful, which is, that the two pieces in which he 
came put, namely, "Harlequin JEsop," and/' Coa and Zoa, or 
the Rival Indians," were found quite attractive enough for the 
whole period. He did not appear in any other part, even for a 
single night, during the whole of his engagement. 

On Sunday, March the 30th, they packed up, and at ten 
o'clock in the evening of Monday went on board the packet, in 
which they had taken their berths to Holyhead, after receiving 
the warmest and kindest hospitality from every person they had 
encountered in Dublin. "With only one letter of introduction, 
Grimaldi had found himself in the course of a few days sur- 
rounded by friends whose hospitality and cordiality, not only of 
profession, but of action, were beyond all bounds : one would 
invite him to dinner, and be personally affronted by his not 
dining with him every day; another who wished to pay him a 
similar attention, but whose dinner-hour would have interfered 
with the rehearsal, only gave up bis claim upon the condition 
that his wife and himself should dine with him every Sunday ; 
a third placed a jaunting-car at his disposal, and sent it to his 
door at eleven o'clock every morning ; and a fourth expected 
him to meet a small party at supper regularly every night. He 
had heard and read a great deal of Irish hospitality, but had 
formed no conception of its extent and heartiness until he expe- 
rienced its effects in his own person. 

He was much struck, as most Englishmen are, lay the enor- 
mous consumption of whisky-punch, and the facility with which 
the good folks of Dublin swallow tumbler after tumbler of it, 
without any visible symptoms of intoxication. He entertained 
a theory that some beverage of equal strength, to which they 
were unaccustomed, would be as trying to them as their whisky- 
punch was to him, (for he was always afraid of a second tumbler 
of toddy,) and, with a view of putting it to the proof, gave 
a little party at his lodgings on Twelfth Night, and compounded 
some good strong English rum-punch, with rather more than a 
dash of brandy in it. - He considers that the experiment was 
eminently successful, asserting that one-fourth of the quantity 
which the guests would have drunk with complete impunity, 
had it been their ordinary beverage, quite overset them ; and 


states with great glee, that Mr. Davis, his landlord, who could 
drink his seven tumblers of whisky-punch, and go to bed after- 
wards rather dull from excessive sobriety, was carried up stairs 
after one tumbler of the new composition, decidedly drunk. We 
are inclined to think, however, that Mr. Davis had been talcing 
a few tumblers of whisky-punch in his own parlour before he 
went up stairs to qualify himself for the party, and that the suc- 
cess of the experiment is not sufficiently well established to 
justify us in impressing it on the public mind without the addi- 
tion of this trifling qualification. 



1806 to 1807. 

He returns to town, gets frozen to the roof of a coach on the road, and pays his 
rent twice over when he arrives at home Mr. Charles Farley His first 
appearance at Coyent Garden Valentine and Orson Production of " Mother 
Goose," and its immense success The mysterious Adventure of the Six 
Ladies and the Six Gentlemen. 

THEY were six days getting back to London, the weather being 
very inclement, and the travelling very indifferent. Through a 
mistake of the booking-office keeper, Grimaldi had to travel the 
earlier portion of the road from Holyhead outside the coach. 
The cold was so intense, and the frost so severe, that he actually 
got frozen to his seat ; and when the coach arrived at Eed Land- 
lord, it was with some difficulty that he was lifted off, and con- 
veyed into an inn in a complete state of exhaustion and help- 
lessness. His feet were bathed in brandy, and various other 
powerful stimulants applied with the view of restoring suspended 
circulation, but several hours elapsed before he recovered, and 
it was not until the following morning that he was enabled to 
resume his journey towards London, where he at length arrived 
without further hindrance or accident. 

He had no sooner returned to town than an unpleasant cir- 
cumstance occurred, as if in especial illustration of his often- 
urged remark, that he never had a sum of money but some un- 
foreseen demand was made upon him, or some extraordinary 
exigency arose. 

He had been one morning to the City on business, and was 
somewhat amazed on his return to find a broker and his 
assistant in the best parlour, engaged in coolly taking an 
inventory of his goods and chattels. 

" What on earth is the meaning of this ?" he inquired. 

" Only an execution for rent," replied the broker, continuing 
his instructions to his amanuensis; "Mirror in gilt frame, 

The tenant replied that it was quite impossible, and searching 
among his papers, found and produced the receipt for his rent. 

The broker looked it over with a cheerful smile, and then, 
with many legal phrases, proceeded to apprize him that the 
landlord himself was but a lessee, and that, in consequence of 


bis not having paid his rent, the head landlord had determined 
to seize upon whatever property was found upon the premises. 

Greatly annoyed at this information, he hurried to Mr. 
Hughes, his constant adviser in all difficulties, to consult with 
him. Having narrated the affair, Mr. Hughes asked what was 
the amount claimed. 

"Eighty-four pounds." 

" Well, then, J oe," said he, " you must pay it, or lose your 

Accordingly he returned home very indignant, and handed 
over the specified sum to the broker, who said nothing could 
be more satisfactory, and walked away accompanied by his 

The next morning the landlord came, and being ushered in, 
expressed much trouble in his countenance, and said that he 
was very glad to see Mr. Grimaldi and such a fine morning to- 

"But I beg your pardon," he added; "I don't think you 
know me." 

Grimaldi replied, that unless he was the gentleman who had 
imposed upon nim the necessity of paying his rent twice over, 
he nad not the pleasure of his acquaintance. At which remark 
the landlord assumed a very penitent and disconsolate visage, 
declared his sorrow for what had occurred, and, as some light 
reparation for the loss and wrong, proposed to assign the lease 
to him. Grimaldi under all the circumstances was extremely 
glad to accede to the proposal, and cheerfully paid all the legal 
expenses contingent upon the transfer. 

The upshot of the. matter was, that, a very short time after- 
wards, he received another communication from the same land- 
lord, in which he imparted the very unexpected fact, that either 
party to the lease had a discretionary power of cancelling it at 
that period if he thought proper, and that he intended to avail 
himself of the clause, unless indeed Mr. Grimaldi would prefer 
retaining the house at an advanced rent, which he was at liberty 
to do if he pleased. An inspection of the deed proved but too 
clearly that this statement was correct: so the eighty-four 
pounds were lost, together with the legal charges for the assign- 
ment of the lease and the costs of the execution ; and the burder 
of an increased rent was imposed upon the unlucky tenant int j 
the bargain. 

His old articles at Sadler's Wells expiring this year, he 
entered into a fresh engagement, under which he bound himself 
to that theatre for three years, at a weekly salary of twelve 
Bounds and two clear benefits. The pantomime produced at 
Easter was entitled, " Harlequin and the Forty Virgins," and 
proved remarkab^ successful, running indeed through the 
whole of the season. In this piece Jie sang a song called "Me 
and my Neddy," which afterwards became highly popular and 


was in everybody's mouth. Several presents were made to him 
by admirers of his performance, and, among others, a very 
handsome watch, the face of which was so contrived as to repre- 
sent a portrait of himself in the act of singing the romantic ditty 
just mentioned. 

All this season the pantomime was played first, which arrange- 
ment released him at half-past eight o'clock, thus affording him 
an opportunity, which he enjoyed for the first time in his life, of 
"being abroad in the evening, in the spring and summer of the 
year. During the greater portion of his life in those seasons, he 
had entered Sadler's Wells every night at six o'clock, and re- 
mained there until twelve. The novelty of being at liberty 
before it was yet dark was so great, that he scarcely knew what 
to do with himself, sometimes strolling about the streets in per- 
fect astonishment at finding himself there, and then turning 
home in pure lack of employment. 

On the opening of Covent Garden Theatre in October,* he 
became first acquainted with Mr. Farley, between whom and 
himself a very warm and sincere friendship ever after existed. 
This gentleman inquired in what character he would wish, to 
make his first appearance. He mentioned Scaramouch in " Don 
Juan," which had been one of his most successful parts at the 
other house ; but Mr. Farley suggested Orson, in " Valentine and 
Orson," urging that the drama, which had not been acted for 
several years, had been very popular with the town, and that 
Orson was a character well suited to his abilities, in which 
it was very probable he would make a great hit. Grimaldi 
at once consented to play the part, merely requesting that Mr. 
Farley would be good enough to give him some instruction in 
it, as he had never seen any portion of the piece, and was at 
some loss how to study the character. Mr. Farley readily 
agreed to do so, and faithfully kept his word. 

* Covent Garden Theatre commenced the season of 1800-7, on September 15, 
with Colman's comedy of " John Bull," and the farce of the " Miser." Mrs. 
Grimaldi was, on September 22, one of the singing-women in the Anthem, sang 
in Shakspeare's play of "King Henry the Eighth:" Cardinal Wolsey, Mr. 
Kemble ; Queen Katharine, Mrs, Siddons. She was also on October 6, one of 
the choral-witches in Macbeth ; and on the 8th enacted Dolly Trull in the 
Beggar's Opera : a part in which she appears to have been cast on all future 
representations. On October 9, not the 10th, Joe made his debut on the boards 
of old Covent Garden, as Orson, on the revival of Tom Dibdin's " Valentine and 
Orson." Dubois had, on its previous representation at that theatre, obtained 
unequivocal applause from the art he displayed in his performance of Orson. 
Bologna, jun. also made his first appearance, after an absence of two years, as the 
" Sorcerer Agramant ; or, The Green Knight." The part of the second page 
in this piece, introduced to the stage a boy named Smalley, with a surprising 
excellence of voice, who, by some kind soul was rescued from wretchedness and 
obscurity, and will long be remembered by those in whose recollection the 
performance of "Mother Goose" remains. " The Cabin Boy," as sung by him, 
was lone highly popular ; every younker, who fancied he had a voice, made that 
ballad the object of his execution. It was warbled by men, women, and children; 
aud Grimaldi obtained great applause for his performance of Orson. 


It has been sometimes said, and indeed stated in print, that 
Grimaldi was a pupil and copyist of Dubois. No greater mistake 
can be made : if he can be said to have been the pupil of anybody, 
Mr. Farley was certainly his master, as he not only took infinite 
pains to instruct him in the character of Orson, but afterwards 
gave him very valuable advice and great assistance in getting 
up many other parts, in which he was also highly successful. 

He was very anxious about his first appearance at Covent 
Garden, and studied Orson with great assiduity and application 
for some time. He made his first appearance in the character 
on the 10th of October, 1806, Farley playing Valentine. The 
piece, which was received with most decided success, was acted 
nearly every night until the production of the pantomime at 
Christmas rendered its withdrawal imperative. 

The part of Orson was in Grimaldi's opinion the most difficult 
he ever had to play ; the multitude of passions requiring to be 
portrayed, and the rapid succession in which it was necessary 
to present them before the spectators, involving an unusual 
share both of mental and physical exertion upon the part 
of the performer. He played this character both in town and 
country on many occasions, but the effect produced upon him by 
the exertions of the last scene of the first act was always the 
same. As soon as the act-drop fell, he would stagger off the 
stage into a small room behind the prompter's box, and there 
sinking into an arm-chair, give full vent to the emotions which 
he found it impossible to suppress. He would sob and cry aloud, 
and suffer so much from violent and agonizing spasms, that 
those about hiir^ accustomed as they at length became to the 
distressing scene, were very often in doubt, up to the very mo- 
ment of his being " called," whether he would be able to go 
upon the stage for the second act. He never failed, however ; 
extraordinary as his sufferings were, his fear of not being ready 
as the time for his call approached, and the exertions he made 
to conquer those painful feelings, invariably enabled him to 
rally at the necessary time, a curious instance of the power of 
habit in enabling him to struggle successfully with the weak- 
nesses which no length of habit, and no repetition of the same 
part, however frequent, were sufficient to banish. 

The effect produced on the audience by his personation of 
this character was intense : it enhanced his reputation greatly, 
bringing him before the public in quite a new line. The compli- 
ments and congratulations which he received from persons rank- 
ing high in his own profession, in literature, and in the fine arts, 
bore high testimony to the merit and striking character of this 
singular performance. 

Preparations now began to be made for the production of 
"Mother Goose," destined to acquire a degree of popularity 
quite unprecedented in the history of pantomime, and to occupy 
a place in the choicest recollections of the play-goers of the time. 


At Drury Lane, the Management, well knowing that great 
preparations were making at Covent Garden for the production 
of a new harlequinade on the 26th of December, and dreading 
the advantage they had gained in securing Grimaldi, hurried on 
the preparations for their own pantomime, and engaging Mont- 
gomery, who had acquired some celebrity at the Circus, at a 
high salary, to play Clown, produced their pantomime on the 
23rd, thus gaining an advantage of three days over the other 
house. The piece, however, partook infinitely more of the 
character of a spectacle than a pantomime: the scenery and 
tricks were good, but the "business," as it is technically termed, 
was so wretched, that the audience began to hiss before it was 
half over, and eventually grew so clamorous, that it was deemed 
prudent to drop the curtain, long before the intended conclusion 
of the piece. Grimaldi and his friend Bologna were present, 
and were very far from regretting this failure. Up to that time 
Drury Lane had always been more successful in pantomime than 
the other house ; and there is little doubt, that the production of 
this unsuccessful but very splendid piece, three days before the 
usual time, was intended not merely to crush the pantomime in 
preparation at Covent Garden, but Grimaldi too, if possible. 

They had a night rehearsal of "Mother Goose" on the ensuing 
evening, and the performers were in a state of great anxiety ana 
uncertainty as to its fate. It had always been the custom to 
render a pantomime the vehicle for the display of gorgeous 
scenery and splendid dresses ; on the last scene especially, the 
energies of every person in the theatre connected with the deco- 
ration of the stage were profusely lavished, the great question 
with the majority of the town being which pantomime had the 
finest conclusion. Mother Goose had none of these accessories ; it 
had neither gorgeous processions, nor gaudy banners, nor 
splendid scenery, nor showy dresses. There was not even a 
spangle used in the piece, with the exception of those which 
decked the Harlequin's jacket, and even they would have been 
dispensed with but _ for Grimaldi's advice. The last scene too 
was as plain as possible, and the apprehensions of the performers 
were proportionately rueful. 

But all these doubts were speedily set at rest ; for on the pro* 
duction of the pantomime on the 26th of December, 1806, it was 
received with the most deafening shouts of applause, and played 
for ninety- two nights, being the whole remainder of the season. 
The houses it drew were immense : the doors were no sooner 
open than the theatre was filled ; and every time it was played 
the applause seemed more uproarious than before another 
instance of the bad judgment of actors in matters appertaining 
to their craft.^ "She stoops to conquer" was doomed by the 
actors to inevitable failure up to the very moment when the 
performances commenced (although in this case many eminent 
literary men and critics of the time held the same opinion) ; and 


" The Honey Moon" lay neglected on the manager's shelf for 
many years, it being considered impossible that an audience 
would be found to sit out its representation. 

Grimaldi's opinion of Mother Goose it may or may not be 
another instance of the bad judgment of actors always remained 
pretty much the same, notwithstanding its great success. He 
considered the pantomime, as a whole, a very indifferent one, and 
always declared his own part to be one of the worst he ever 
played ; nor was there a trick or situation in the piece to which 
he had not been well accustomed for many years before. How- 
ever this may be, there is little doubt that the exertions of 
Bologna and himself, as Harlequin and Clown, contributed in a 
very important degree to the success of the piece ; it being 
worthy of remark, that whenever the pantomimelias been played 
without the original Harlequin and Clown, it has invariably gone 
off flatly, and generally failed to draw. 

On the 9th of June he took a benefit in conjunction with 
Bologna, upon which occasion Mother Goose was played for the 
eighty-second* time. The receipts amounted to 679. 18*. 

During the run of this pantomime he fell curiously into a new 
and mysterious circle of acquaintance. The mystery which over- 
hung them, the manner of his introduction, their style of living, 
and his subsequent discovery of their rank and title, are not a 
little curious. 

On the 6th of January, 1807, a gentleman called at his house 
in Baynes* Row, and desiring to see him was shown into the 
parlour. In this person he was surprised to recognise his 
quondam friend Mackintosh whp owned the preserves. He 
apologised for calling, entered into conversation with great ease, 
and trusted that the little trick he had played in mere thought- 
lessness might be completely forgiven. Being courteously re- 
quested not to trouble liiinself by referring to it, Mr. Mackintosh 
went on to say, that his mother had sold, not her mangle, but 
her inn, and had retired to a distant part of the country ; while 
he himself having attached himself to business, had come to 
reside permanently in London, and had taken a house and offices 
in Throgmorton- street, in the City. 

Mr. Mackintosh's appearance was extremely smart, his man- 

* On the night of the joint benefit of Grimaldi and Bologna, June 9, 1807, 
Macklin's " Man of the World," was performed ; Sir Pertinax, by Mr. Cooke ; 
anew comic ballet, entitled "Poor Jack," Poor Jack, by Mr. Bologna, jun. 
Joe also sang Dibdin's song of " The Country Club," often previously sung by 
him at Sadler's Wells, with reiterated plaudits. The evening's entertainments 
concluded with " Mother Goose," for the eighty-eighth time, not the eighty- 

In the preceding April, on the 16th, was produced at Covent Garden, for the 
first time, a grand ballet of action, entitled "The Ogre and Little Thumb; or, 
the Seven League Boots ;" Anthropophagos, the Ogre, Mr. Farley : Count 
Manfredi, Mr. Bologna, jun.; Scamperini, the Count's Servant, Mr. Grimaldij 
Little Thumb, Miss M. Bristtw, her iirst appearance. 



ners were greatly improved, and altogether he had acquired 
much polish and refinement since the days of the chaise-cart and 
the fustian jacket. As, notwithstanding the absurd scrape into 
which he had led his guests, he had treated them very hospitably, 
Grimaldi invited him to dine on the following Sunday. He 
came in due course ; his conversation was jocose and amusing, 
and becoming a favourite at the house, he frequently dined or 
supped there: Grimaldi and his wife occasionally doing the 
same with him in Throgmorton-street, where he had a very 
business-looking establishment, plainly but genteelly furnished.. 

About a month after his first calling, he waited upon Grimaldi 
one morning, and said that some friends of _ his residing in 
Charlotte-street, Eitzroy-square, were very anxious to make his 
acquaintance, and wished much for his company at supper one 
evening after he had finished at the theatre. Grimaldi, who if 
he had accepted all the invitations he received at this^ period 
would have had very little time for his profession, parried the 
request for some time, alleging that he was a very domestic 
person, and that he preferred adhering to his old custom of 
supping at home with his wife after the play. Mackintosh, 
however, urged that his friends were very wealthy people, that 
he would find them very useful and profitable acquaintances, 
and by these and a thousand other persuasions, overcame^ his 
disinclination to go. He consented, and an evening was fixed 
for the visit. 

On the appointed night, as soon as he had finished at the 
theatre, he called a coach and directed the driver to set him 
down at the address which Mackintosh had given him. The 
coach stopped before a very large house, apparently handsomely 
furnished, and brilliantly lighted up. Not having any idea that 
the man could possess friends who lived in such style, he at first 
supposed that the driver had made a mistake ; but while they 
were discussing the point, Mackintosh, elegantly dressed, darted 
out of the passage, and, taking his arm, conducted him into a 
brilliant supper-room. 

If the outside of the house had given him cause for astonish- 
ment, its internal appearance redoubled his surprise. Every- 
thing was on a scale of the most costly splendour : the spacious 
rooms were elegantly papered and ^ gilded, elegant chandeliers 
depended from the ceilings, the richest carpets covered the 
floors, and the other furniture, too, was of the most expensive 
description. The supper comprised a choice variety of luxuries, 
and was splendidly served ; the costliest wines of various kinds 
and vintages sparkled upon the table. 

There were just twelve persons in the supper-room, besides 
Mackintosh and himself 1 to wit, six ladies and six gentlemen, 
who ere all introduced as married peopl . The first couple to 
whom he was introduced were of course the host and hostess, 
Mr. and Mrs. Farmer, who welcomed him with enchanting 
urbanity and condescension. Every member of the party was 


Deautifully dressed : the ladies wore jewellery of the most bril- 
liant description, the numerous attendants were in handsome 
liveries, and the whole scene was so totally different from any- 
thing he had anticipated that he was thoroughly bewildered, and 
actually began to doubt the reality of what he saw. The polite- 
ness of the gentlemen, and the graceful ease of the ladies, how- 
ever, soon restored his self-possession ; while the delicious 
flavour of the wines and dishes convinced him that with respect 
to that part of the business, at all events, he was labouring 
under no delusion. 

In eating, drinking, singing, and story- telling, the night wore 
on till past five o'clock, when he was at length suffered to 
return home. A recital of all the circumstances astonished his 
wife not a little ; and he was quite as much amazed at recol- 
lecting what he had seen, as she at hearing of it. 

A few days afterward, Mackintosh called again; hoped he 
had enjoyed himself, was delighted to hear he had, and bore an 
invitation for the next night. 

To this Grimaldi urged all the objections he had before men- 
tioned, and added to them an expression of his unwillingness 
to leave his wife at home. Mr. Mackintosh, with great fore- 
thought, had mentioned this in Charlotte-street ; he was com- 
missioned to invite her, Mrs. Farmer trusting she would come in 
a friendly way and excuse the formality of her calling. 

Well, there was no resisting this ; so Grimaldi and his wife 
went to Charlotte -street next night, and there were the rooms, 
and the six ladies and the six gentlemen, and the chandeliers, 
and the wax-lights, and the liveries, and, what was more to the 
purpose than all, the supper, all over again. 

There were several other parties after this ; and then the six 
ladies and the six gentlemen would come and see Mr. Grimaldi 
at his own house, whereat Mrs. Grimaldi was rather vexed, 
inasmuch as they had not one quarter so many spoons as the 
Charlotte-street people, and no chandeliers at all. However, 
they were polite enough 'to say, that they had never spent a 
more delightful evening ; and as they talked and laughed very 
much, and were very friendly and kind, the visit passed off to 
the admiration of all parties. 

There was some mystery about these great friends, which the 
worthy couple were quite unable to solve. It did not appear 
that they were connected by any other ties than those of friend- 
ship, and yet they were always together, and never had a 
stranger among them ; there were always the same six ladies 
and the same six gentlemen, the only change being in their 
dresses, which varied in make and colour, but never in quality. 
Then they did not seem to be in any business, and there was a 
something in the politeness of the gentlemen and the jocoseness 
of the ladies which struck them as rather peculiar, although 
they could never tell what it was. Grimaldi saw that they 



were not like the noblemen and gentlemen he was in the habit 
of meeting in the green-rooms of the theatres; and yet, not- 
withstanding that he pondered upon the matter a great deal, he 
could not for the life of him discover in what the difference con- 
sisted. His wife was in just the same state of perplexity ; but 
although they talked the matter over very often, they never 
arrived at any tangible conclusion. While they were thinking 
about it, the parties kept going on, and January and February 
passed away. 

On the 13th of March he had promised to act, in conjunction 
with Messrs. Bartley, Simmons, Chapman, and Louis Bologna, 
at the Woolwich Theatre, for the benefit of Mr. Lund. Cha&eing 
to mention the circumstance at one of the Charlotte-street 
parties a few days before the time, Mr. Farmer immediately 
proposed that he and the other five gentlemen should accompany 
their excellent friend; that they should all sup together at 
Woolwich after the theatre was over, and return to town next 
day. This was immediately agreed to by all the party except 
one gentleman, with the uncommon name of Jones, who had 
an appointment with a nobleman, which it was impossible to 

The five gentlemen were punctual, and they, Mackintosh, and 
Grimaldi, started together. They dined at Woolwich, and 
afterwards adjourned to the theatre, where the five gentlemen 
and Mackintosh went into the boxes, and Grimaldi upon the 
stage. The five gentlemen talked very loud, and applauded 
very much ; and their magnificent appearance created quite a 
sensation, not only among the audience, but the actors also. 
They supped together at the hotel at which they had dined : 
slept there, and returned to town next day ; Mr. Farmer and 
the four gentlemen coming home in a barouche ; Mackintosh, 
Grimaldi, and some other professional persons preferring to 
walk, for the benefit of the exercise. 

Upon the way, Grimaldi sounded Mackintosh relative to the 
professions, connexions, and prospects of his friends ; but he 
evaded making any reply, further than by observing, with an 
air of great respect, that they were very wealthy people. He 
dined in Throgmorton- street a few days afterwards, and again 
tried to penetrate the mystery, as did his wife, who accompanied 
him. Mr. Mackintosh threw no light upon it, but it was 
destined to be shortly revealed, as the next chapter will show. 




The mystery is cleared up, chiefly through the instrumentality of Mr. Alderman 
Harmer ; and the characters of the six Ladies and the six Gentlemen are 
satisfactorily explained. The Trial of Mackintosh for Burglary Its result. * 

ABOUT three weeks had elapsed since the last dinner in.Throg- 
morton- street, during the whole of which time nothing had 
been seen or heard either of the six ladies or of the six gentle- 
men, when, as Grimaldi was sitting reading in his parlour, a 
strange gentleman was shown into the room. As he was accus- 
tomed to be waited upon by many people of whom he knew 
nothing, he requested the gentleman to take a chair, and after a 
few commonplace remarks upon the weather and the papers, 
begged to ask his business with him. 

"Why, my business with you, Mr. Grimaldi," said the 
stranger, putting down his hat, as if he had come to stop a long 
time, " is of a very peculiar nature. Perhaps I had better com- 
mence by telling you who I am. My name is Harmer." 

" Harmer?" said Grimaldi, running over in his mind all the 
theatrical names he had ever heard. 

" Mr. James Harmer, of Hatton Garden. The reason of my 
waiting upon you is this, I wish to speak to you upon a very 
disagreeable affair." 

There was a peculiar solemnity in the visitor's manner, 
although it was very gentlemanly and quiet, which at once 
threw Grimaldi into a state of great nervous excitement. He 
entreated him, with a very disturbed countenance, to be kind 
enough to explain the nature of the communication he had to 
make, as explicitly as he could. 

" To come, then, at once to the point," said Mr. Harmer, 
" do you not know a person of the name of Mackintosh ?" 

" Yes, certainly," replied Grimaldi, his thoughts flying off at 
a tangent, first to Throgmorton-street, and then to the ladies 
and gentlemen in Charlotte-street " oh yes, I know him." 

" lie is now," said Mr. Harmer, solemnly, " in great danger 
of losing his life." 

Grimaldi at once supposed his visitor was a doctor, said he 
was very sorry to hear it, asked how long he had been ill, and 
begged to know what was the matter with him. 


" His bodily health is good enough," replied Mr. Harmer, 
with a half- smile. " In the course of my professional career, 
Mr. Grimaldi, I have known many men in imminent danger of 
losing their lives, who have been in most robust health." 

Grimaldi bowed his head, and presumed his visitor referred to 
cases in which the patient had gone off suddenly. Mr. Harmer 
said that he certainly did, and that he had strong reason to 
fear Mr. Mackintosh would go off one morning very suddenly 

" I greatly regret to hear it," said the other. " But pray tell 
me his condition without reserve : you may safely be communi- 
cative to me. What is the nature of the disorder ? what is it 

" Burglary," answered Mr. Harmer, quaintly. 

"Burglary!" exclaimed Grimaldi, trembling from head to 

" Nothing less," replied Mr. Harmer. " The state of the case, 
Mr. Grimaldi, is simply this : Mackintosh is accused of having 
committed a burglary at Congleton, in Cheshire. I am a soli- 
citor, and am engaged on his behalf; the evidence against him 
is very strong, and if he be found guilty, which I must say ap- 
pears to me extremely likely, he will most infallibly be hanged." 

This intelligence so amazed Grimaldi, tnat he fell into a chair 
as if he had been shot, and it was some little time before he 
was sufficiently recovered to resume the conversation. The 
moment he could do so, he hastened to explain that he had never 
supposed Mackintosh to be other than an honest man, or he 
would carefully have shunned all acquaintance with him. 

" He has been anything but an honest man for a long time 
past," said Mr. Harmer : " still, I may say that he is anxious 
to reform ; and at all events, I am certain that this particular 
robbery was not committed by him." 

" Good God ! and he still likely to be hung for it ! " 

" Certain," said Mr. Harmer ; " unless we can prove an alibi. 
There is only one man who has it in his power to do so ; and 
that man, Mr. Grimaldi, is yourself." 

" Then," said Mr. Grimaldi, " you may command me." 

In a lengthened and, to him, very interesting conversation 
which ensued, he learned that the robbery had been committed 
on the 13th of March, on the very night on which he had 
played for Lund's benefit at Woolwich, and afterwards supped 
with Mackintosh and his friends. This accidental circumstance 
was of course of the last importance to Mr. Harmer' s client, and 
that gentleman receiving a promise from Grimaldi that he would, 
make an affidavit of the fact, if required, wished him a good 
morning and left him. 

Mackintosh being admitted to bail a few days afterwards, 
called upon Grimaldi to express his gratitude for the readiness 


with which he had consented to give his important evidence. 
The insight into the man's character which Mr. Harmer had 
given him, rendered him of course desirous to be as little in his 
company as possible ; but as his kind nature would not allow 
him to wound his feelings more than was absolutely necessary 
in this interview (quite voluntary on his part), immediately 
after the exposure, and as he was moreover very desirous to put 
a few questions to him concerning the twelve ladies and gentle- 
men, he dissembled his dislike, and placed some refreshment 
before him, of which he partook. He then said, 

" Mr. Mackintosh, I cannot suppose you to be guilty of any 
act of this kind, for you have so many circumstances in your 
favour. Putting myself out of the question, I am merely an 
actor, working for my subsistence, you can call, to prove your 
alibi, gentlemen of station and undoubted respectability. Mr. 
Farmer and his friends, for instance, could not fail to have great 
weight with the court." 

A very perceptible change overspread the countenance of Mr. 
Mackintosh when he heard these words. He shook his head 
with great vehemence, and looked strongly disposed to laugh 
Grimaldi, who was one of the simplest creatures in all worldly 
matters that ever breathed, paused for a reply, but finding his 
acquaintance said nothing, added, 

"Besides, the ladies. Dear me, Mr. Mackintosh, the ap- 
pearance of those gentlemen's wives would be almost enough to 
acquit you at once." 

" Mr. Grimaldi," said Mackintosh, with a slight tremor in 
his voice which, despite his serious situation, arose from an 
incipient tendency to laughter, "Mr. Grimaldi, none of those 
women are married." 

Grimaldi stared incredulously. 

"Not one," said Mackintosh: "they only pass for married 
people they are not really so." 

1 Then how," said Grimaldi, waxing very angry, " how dared 
you to invite my wife among them, and induce me to take her 

" I'm very sorry, sir," said the man, humbly. 

" I'll tell you what, sir," interposed the other, "I'll be put 
off no longer : this is not the time for secrecy and falsehood, nor 
is it your interest to tell me anything but the truth. Now, I 
demand to know at once the real characters of these people, and 
why you shook your head when I mentioned your bringing 
them forward as witnesses." 

" Mr. Grimaldi," replied the man, with great apparent humi- 
lity, " they would not come if they were sent for ; and besides, 
if they did, it would injure, not assist me, for they are all 
marked men." 

"Marked men!" exclaimed Grimaldi. 


" Too true, sir/' said Mackintosh ; " desperate characters 
every one." 

" What ! Farmer r" 

" He was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey, and got a 
reprieve while standing on the drop beneath the gallows." 
'And Williams?" 

' Williams is a forger of notes." 

' And Jesson ?" 

'He and Barber are both burglars." 

' And the Jewish-looking man, I forget the rascal's name, 
the man who sings Kelly's songs ; what is he r" 

" Oh, he helps to pass the forged notes, and has been three 
times in the pillory." 

" There is one other man whom I have not named that fel- 
low Jones ; what is he ? a murderer r" 

"No > sir, only a burglar," answered Mackintosh. "Don't 
you recollect, Mr. Grimaldi, that he would not join the party to 
Woolwich ?" 

" Perfectly well." 

" Well, sir, the truth is, he left town for Cheshire the .same 
day the party was proposed, and he is the man who actually 
committed the deed I am charged with. He did the robbery. 
I found it out only to-day ; but, though I know it, I can't prove 
it now : and all those people in Charlotte- street are doing their 
best to get me found guilty, and save the real man, who is better 
liked among them than I am." 

The enumeration of all these crimes, the reflection of having 
been intimately associated with such wretches, and the fear of 
having his innocence confounded with their guilt, ^uite over- 
wnelmed their unfortunate victim. He was thoroughly stupi- 
fied for some minutes, and then, starting up with uncontrollable 
fury, seized the man by the thrpat^ and demanded how he durst 
take him among such a horde of villains, under pretence of 
being his friend. Mackintosh, alarmed at this unexpected ebul- 
lition of resentment, fell on his knees before him in the most 
abject manner, and poured forth many entreaties for mercy, and 
protestations of regret. 

" Answer me one question," said Grimaldi, releasing his hold ; 
" give me a plain and straightforward answer, for it's only by 
telling me the truth now, that you can hope for any leniency at 
my hands. What was your motive for taking me into the 
company of these men and women, and why did they want to 
have me among them ?" 

" I'll tell you the truth, by God !" replied Mackintosh, " and 
without the smallest attempt at disguise. They thought you 
must be very good company, and hearing me say that I knew 
you, gave me no rest until I consented to take you to the house 
in Charlotte-street ; which I at last agreed to do, stipulating, 


upon my soul, that no harm should ever be done you, and that 
their real characters should be carefully concealed. You turned 
out as they expected ; they were very much delighted with your 
songs and stories, and I was obliged to promise to bring you 
again. And that's the truth." 

^ Although this explanation relieved him from some very ter- 
rible fears relative to the motives of these persons in seeking 
his companionship, it was a very galling reflection to have been 
playing the jester to a gang of robbers and vagabonds ; and as t 
it presented itself to his mind, it drove him almost mad with* 
rage.^ Never accustomed to give way to his passions, the fit of 
fury into which he had worked himself was such that it was 
many hours before he recovered from its effects. Mr. Mackintosh, 
with much wisdom, took himself off the moment his confession 
was concluded. 

About a week after this agreeable visit, Grimaldi was sitting 
at breakfast one morning, when his servant announced a lady, 
and in walked as he sat paralysed with surprise no less a 
person than Mrs. Farmer, who, sitting down with great com- 
posure and freedom, said, when the servant had left the room, 

"Well, Grim, here's Jack Mackintosh has got himself into s 
pretty hobble, hasn't he r" 

"He has indeed," said Grim, all abroad with amazement 
" and I am very sorry for it." 

" Lord ! you don't mean that !" returned the lady : " I'u 
sure it's more than I am. Of course, it's everybody's turn on- 
time ; and Jack's had a very long string." 

It being now thoroughly evident that the party, deeming 
longer concealment ^hopeless, wished to treat Grimaldi as one of 
themselves, and to imply that he had been acquainted with their 
real characters all along, he resolved to act decidedly ; so, the 
moment the lady had finished speaking, said, 

" By some extraordinary mistake and blindness I have been 
led into the society of yourself and your associates, ma'am. I 
regret this bitte . 'j for many reasons, but for two especially : 
first, that I should ever have had acquaintance with such cha- 
racters ; and secondly, that it compels me to act with apparent 
harshness to a woman. As I have no other course to pursue, 
however, I beg you will have the goodness to tell the ladies and 
gentlemen whom I have had the unhappiness to meet in Char- 
lotte-street, that I request them never to show their faces here ; 
and that I wish never to see, and certainly shall never speak to 
any of them again." 

Ihe servant entering the room at this point, in reply to the 
summons he had previously given, he continued, 

" As soon as this person has rested herself after her walk, show 
her to the door ; and take care that you never admit her, or any 
of the people who have been in the habit of coming here with 


her, into the house again." With these words he quitted the 
room, as did the "lady" immediately afterwards; and well 
pleased he was to be rid of her society. 

Sadler's "Wells opened the season of 1807 with a new piece, 
called the " Ogre," in which he enacted a character dignified 
by the name of " Scamperino." This drama was not very suc- 
cessful, lingering only through ten nights ; but as he was 
wanted of course in something else, and had every night to 
hurry to Covent Garden afterwards, to play the clown in 
" Mother Goose," which was still running with unabated spirit, 
he endured very great fatigue for more than three months, 
during which the two theatres were open together.* 

In the July of this year a very extraordinary circumstance 
occurred at Sadler's "Wells, which was the great topic of con- 
versation in the neighbourhood for some time afterwards. It 
happened thus : 

Captain George Harris, of the Eoyal iNavy, who was related 
to the Mr. Harris of Covent Garden, and with whom Grimaldi 
was slightly acquainted, had recently returned to England after 
i long voyage. The crew being paid off, many of the men 
followed their commander up to London, and proceeded to enjoy 
themselves after the usual fashion of sailors. Sadler's "Wells 
was at that time a famous place of resort with the blue-jackets, 
the gallery being sometimes almost solely occupied by seamen 
and their female companions. A large body of Capt. Harris's 
aien resorted hither one night, and amongst them a man who 
was deaf and dumb,_ and had been so for many years. This 
man was placed by his shipmates in the front row of the gallery. 
Grrimaldi was in great force that night, and, although the au- 
lience were in one roar of laughter, nobody appeared to enjoy 
lis fun and humour more than this poor fellow. His companions 
rood-naturedly took a good deal of notice of him, and one of 
;hem, who talked very well with his fingers, inquired how he 
iked the entertainments ; to which the deaf and dumb man 
eplied, through the same medium, and with various gestures 
of great delight, that he had never seen anything half so comical 
' 4s the scene progressed, Grimaldi's tricks and jokes became 

* Sadler's Wells opened the season of 1807 on Easter Monday, March 30th, 
with a new pantomime, entitled "Jan Ben Jan, or Harlequin and the Forty 
Virgins." Kidgway made his first appearance as Harlequin, Bologna, jun., 
having seceded from the theatre. Among other debutants on that night, was 
Pyne, the singer, as also Mrs. M'Cartney, who subsequently became Mrs. Pyne. 
Grimaldi, as usual, was clown in the pantomime, which had a long and suc- 
cessful run. In the scene of the interior of Pidcock's menagerie, at Exeter 
'Change, he spoke and sang " The Exhibitor's Chant," which became highly 
popular. The journalists of that time were of one accord; the inimitable 
drolleries of the clown were the principal cause of the crowded lobbies and the 
scarcely standing room on every night of the performance. 


still more irresistible ; and at length, after a violent peal of 
laughter and applause which quite shook the theatre, and in 
which the dumb man joined most heartily, he suddenly turned 
to his mate, who sat next to him, and cried out with much glee, 
" What a d d funny fellow !" 

" Why, Jack," shouted the other man, starting back with 
great surprise : " can you speak ?" 

"Speak!" returned the other; "ay, that I can, and hear, 

Upon this the whole party, of course, gave three vehement 
cheers, and at the conclusion of the piece adjourned in a great 
procession to the " Sir Hugh Middleton," hard by, with the 
recovered man, elevated on the shoulders of half a dozen friends, 
in the centre. A crowd of people quickly assembled round the 
door, and great excitement and curiosity were occasioned as the 
intelligence ran from mouth to mouth, that a deaf and dumb 
man had come to speak and hear, all owing to the cleverness of 
Joey Grimaldi. 

The landlady of the tavern, thinking Grimaldi would like to 
see his patient, told the man, that, if he would call next morn- 
ing, he should see the actor who had made him laugh so much. 
Grimaldi, being apprised of the circumstance, repaired to the 
house at the appointed time, and saw him, accompanied by 
several of his companions, all of whom still continued to manifest 
the liveliest interest in the sudden change that had happened to 
their friend, and kept on cheering, and drinking, and treating 
everybody in the house, in proof of their gratification. The 
man, who appeared an intelligent well-behaved fellow, said, 
that in the early part of his life he could both speak and hear 
very well ; and that he had attributed his deprivation of the 
two senses to the intense heat of the sun in the quarter of the 
world to which he had been, and from which he had very re- 
cently returned. He added, that on the previous evening he 
had for a long time felt a powerful anxiety to express his delight 
at what was passing on the stage ; and that, after some feat 
of Grimaldi' s which struck him as being particularly amusing, 
he had made a strong effort to deliver his thoughts, in which, 
to his own great astonishment, no less than that of his com- 
rades, he succeeded. Mr. Charles Dibdin, who was present, 
put several questions to the man; and, from his answers, it 
appeared to every one present, that he was speaking the truth. 
Indeed, his story was in some measure confirmed by Captain 
Harris himself; for one evening, about six months afterwards, 
as Grimaldi was narrating the circumstance in the green-room 
at Covent Garden, that gentleman, who chanced to be present, 
immediately remarked that he had no reason, from the man's 
behaviour while with him, to suppose him an impostor, and 
that he had seen him on that day in the full possession of all 
his senses. 


In the month, of August following this circumstance, Grimaldi 
received a subpoena to attend the trial of Mackintosh, at 
Stafford. He immediately gave notice to the manager of 
Sadler's Wells, that he was compelled to absent himself for a 
few days, and Bradbury, of the Circus, was engaged to supply 
his place. Mr. Harmer and himself went down together ; and 
on the day following their arrival, a true bill having been 
found against Mackintosh by the grand jury, the trial came 

Grimaldi forgets the name of the prosecutor's counsel,* and 
regrets the circumstance very much, observing' that the length- 
ened notice which he bestowed upon him ought to have im- 
pressed his name on his memory. _ If this notice were nattering 
on account of its length, it certainly was not so_ in any other 
respect ; inasmuch as the gentleman in question, in the exercise 
of that licence which many practitioners unaccustomed to briefs 
assume, was pleased to designate the principal witness for the 
prisoner, to wit, Mr. Joseph Grimaldi, as a common player, a 
mountebank- stroller, a man reared in and ever accustomed to 
vice in its most repulsive and degrading forms a man who was 
necessarily a systematic liar and, in tine, a man upon whose 
word or oath^no thinking person could place any reliance. 

During this exordium, and pending the logical deductions of 
the ingenious gentleman whose name is unhappily lost to his 
country, the prisoner eyed his witness with intense anxiety, 
fearing, no doubt, that in his examination, either by angry 
words, or by attempting to retort on the counsel, or by volun- 
teering jokes, or by seeking revenge upon himself, against whom 
he had such just ground of complaint, he might pass the rope 
round his neck, instead of serving his cause ; but his fears were 
needless. His witness had gone there to discharge what he 
considered a solemn duty ; and, apart from all personal consi- 
derations, to give his, honest testimony in a case involving a 
man's life and death. He went there, of course, prepared to 
give his evidence in the manner best befitting himself and the 
occasion ; and, if he wanted any additional incentive to caution 
and coolness, he would have found it in the taunts of the 
opposing counsel, which naturally made him desirous to show, 
by his behaviour, that the same man who could play the clown 
upon a public stage could conduct himself with perfect propriety 
as a private individual in the same way as many young 
gentlemen, who are offensive in wigs, become harmless and 
obscure in social life. 

No fewer than nine witnesses were examined for the prosecu- 
tion, all of whom, to Grimaldi' s astonishment and horror, swore 
positively to the identity of the prisoner. The case for the pro- 
secution being closed, he was immediately put into the box, for 

* The late Mr. Dauncey. 


the defence ; when, after stating that the prisoner was in his 
company at Woolwich, at the time of the commission of the 
burglary, he proceeded to detail as briefly as he could all that 
had happened on the day and night in question. He carefully 
suppressed any extraneous matter that related to himself or his 
own feelings, which might have been injurious to the prisoner, 
and produced the playbill of the night, to prove that there could 
be no mistake respecting the date. He was then submitted to a 
very long and vexatious cross-examination, but he never lost 
his temper for an instant, or faltered in his testimony in any 
way ; and at its conclusion he was well rewarded for his goou. 
feeling and impartiality, by the highly flattering terms in which 
the presiding judge was pleased to express his opinion of the 
manner in which he had conducted himself.* 

His wife was the next witness called, and she fully corrobo- 
rated his evidence. Two more witnesses were examined on the 
same side, when the judge interposed, putting it to the jury 
whether they really deemed it necessary to hear any further evi- 
dence, and not hesitating to say that the full conviction on his own 
mind was, that the witnesses for the prosecution were mistaken, 
and that the prisoner at the bar was innocent of the offence laid 
to his charge. The jury fully coincided in the learned judge's 
opinion, and immediately returned a verdict of "Not guilty," 
after a trial which had already lasted for upwards of nine 

Previous to his return to town, on the following morning, 
Grimaldi sought and obtained a few minutes' private conversa- 
tion with Mackintosh. In this interview, he used his utmost 
endeavours to awaken his mind to a sense of his situation, to 
induce him to reflect on the crimes he had committed, and to 
place before him the inevitable consequences of his career if he 
held the same course ; by all of which remonstrances the man 
appeared much affected, and for which he expressed himself 
very grateful. It was scarcely necessary for Grimaldi to add, 
that any communication between them must be discontinued for 
the future ; but, lest his true repentance might be endangered 
by the loss of the only friend he seemed to have, he gave him 
permission to write to him if he ever needed his assistance, and 

* The gentleman who first revised Grimaldi's reminiscences adds the following 
note in this stage of the Memoirs : " That Mr. Grimaldi has not unworthily 
commended his own conduct in this instance, no one who has heard him speak 
in public wilrbe disposed to believe. His manner was always that of a man 
Who, while he entertained a just respect for himself, properly respected the parties 
to whom he addressed himself. This was strikingly exemplified whenever, in con- 
sequence of the sudden illness of a performer, or some other stage mishap, an 
apology became necessary; on which occasions he would step forward, and an- 
nouncing the calamity, claim the kindness of the audience with so much gen- 
tlemanly ease, and such an entire absence of all buffoonery or grimace, that, in 
spite of his grotesque dress and appearance, and the associations which they 
necessarily awakened, the audience forgot the clown, and only remembered thi 


assured him that if it were in his power to relieve him, the 
appeal should never he made in vain. It says something for 
the honour of human nature and the sincerity of the man's 
repentance, that he never took undue advantage of this per- 
mission, and, indeed, was never heard of by Grimaldi again. 

The witness returned to town, as he had every reason to do, 
with a light heart ; and as he never heard any further intelli- 
gence either of the half-dozen gentlemen, or the six Lucretias to 
whom he had so unwittingly introduced his wife, he experienced 
no further trouble or disquiet on thi& score. 




THE facts relating to Grimaldi's connexion with John Mackoull, 
alias Mackintosh, are the following : 

Mackoull, during two years previous to Michaelmas, 1804, 
was a publican ; he kept the G-eorge Inn, at Hayes, in Kent ; 
and, in his own words, in his "Abuses of Justice," mentions 
the following particulars :" In justice to Mr. Grirnaldi, I will 
shortly state the commencement and nature of our acquaint- 
ance. I saw him for the first time as a guest at my house at 
Hayes, where, from the attention I paid him and his mends, he 
visited me several times. 

'* Shortly after I came to London, I accidentally met him, 
and invited him and his wife to dine with me. The invitation 
was accepted, and he in turn invited me and my wife to dine ; 
indeed, tne whole of our acquaintance consisted in several times 
mutually dining at each other's houses." 

Mackoull lived in White Lion-court, in Throgmorton-street, 
and the occasional intimacy appears to have continued till 1807, 
in which year, on March 13th, Lund had a benefit at the 
"Woolwich Theatre, when the Bolognas, Grimaldi, and Norman, 
were to enact Don Juan. Mackoull accompanied John Bologna 
from London to Woolwich on the morning of the 13th; the 
performances went oft' well at night, and the whole party con- 
tinued there till two o'clock in the afternoon of the 14th, when 
Mackoull left, Grimaldi having promised to dine with him on 
the Wednesday following. 

It so happened, that on the night of the 12th of March, or on 
the morning of the 13th, the Edinburgh mail-coach was robbed 
of a parcel, forwarded by the Newark bank to Messrs. Ken- 
sington, of Lombard-street. The parcel contained bank-notes 
and bills to the amount of 4500Z., payable in London; and was, 
as afterwards transpired, stolen by a man, then travelling in the 
mail, named Treble, who, to avoid hanging, destroyed himself. A 
returned transport, named Duffield, received the bills, and a 
strolling player, named John Knight, who, under the assumed 
name of Warren, at Salisbury and other places enacted Othello, 
and other principal characteis. He became the negotiator of 


some of the bills by forging or indorsing them in his own the- 
atrical name of Warren, and contrived to discount one at 
Burton-upon-Trent, on March 17th ; another at Uttoxeter, on 
the 18th; a third at Congleton, on the 19th; and a fourth at 
"Wirks worth, on the 20th. Information that some of these bills 
had been discounted at the above principal banks haying trans- 
pired, and a description of the person who had negotiated them 
being transmitted, MackoulTs personal appearance was ex- 
tremely similar to that of the delinquent described ; and he was 
apprehended accordingly at his house in White Lion-court, on 
April 3rd, taken to the Brown Bear, in Bow-street, and on that 
evening charged at Bow-street with felony, having robbed the 
mail, and with forgery of the indorsements on the bills asserted 
to have been negotiated by him. He was remanded to the 8th, 
on which day Mackoull was again placed at the bar, Mr. Alley as 
his counsel, and Mr. Harmer also appearing in his defence. 
But it was not until the third hearing, on the llth, that specific 
charges were made against him, and he was sworn to be the 
person who had obtained the money for the bill discounted at 
the Congleton bank on March 19th. Mackoull, being in posses- 
sion of the charge, was enabled, to prove an alibi most satisfac- 
torily, as Grimaldi and his wife had dined with him on the 
18th of March. Mrs. Grimaldi had left them at five o'clock, to 
sustain her part in the Oratorio that evening at Covent Garden 
Theatre, and Joe had remained with Mackoull till eleven that 
night ; it was therefore clear that he was not the person who 
had negotiated the bills, nor was he the party who had robbed 
the mail, as he had evidence in John and Louis Bologna, 
Grimaldi, Norman, and many others ; for he ^was then with 
them at Woolwich. These circumstances being named by 
Mackoull to Mr. Harmer, he undertook to wait upon Mr. and 
Mrs. Grimaldi, which it would seem he did on the Sunday, as 
on the Monday, April 13th, being Mackoull' s fourth examina- 
tion, Mr. Alley proposed offering a satsifactory alibi to the 
charge ; but, as all the witnesses had not been conferred with, 
desired leave to ^bring them forward on the following day. It 
is tolerably certain that Mr. Harmer had seen Grimaldi and his 
wife on Sunday, for Alley mentioned them, amongst others, as 
witnesses whom he should bring forward on the Tuesday ; and 
till the llth, Mackoull was not in possession of the particular 
charge against him. 

Mackoull states that Mr. Harmer undertook to wait upon 
Mr. and Mrs. Grimaldi, both of whom recollected perfectly the 
day on which they had dined with Mackoull, previous to 
Mr. Harmer's apprising them with his reasons for the inquiry: 
both spontaneously proffered to prove the fact, before the magis- 
trates, or otherwise, if required ; hence Mr. Alley's intimation 
to the magistrates on the 13th, on which day a young man, 
named Miflar, son of the police-constable, and then an under 


clerk at Bow-street Office, went personally to Grimaldi, and 
endeavoured to persuade him not to appear on the following 
day before the magistrates ; and insinuated he had no object in. 
interfering but a regard for Mr. Grimaldi, and the interest that 
he felt for his reputation. Joe was, however, not to be deterred 
or intimidated from publicly asserting what he knew to be true 
more particularly, as he learned that the life of a fellow- 
creature was at stake ; and contrary to this stripling's expectation 
and wishes, he attended at Bow- street, before the magistrates, 
Messrs. Read and Graham, on the 14th, giving in evidence the 
facts already stated. Two points of alibi were fully established 
by Joe. Mackpull had not committed the robbery, with which 
he was in the first instance charged, because John and Louis 
Bologna, Grimaldi, and Norman, and many others, could and 
did swear that he was with them at Woolwich at the time the 
robbery was effected ; and as to his being the person who had 
been the negotiator of the bills from the 17th to the 20th of 
March, Grimaldi's evidence was not single, and was therefore 
indisputable ; but Mr. Kensington's professional adviser, having 
a wealthy plaintiff as a client, abetted his reluctance to believe 
Mackoull had been erroneously charged and sworn to. On the 
13th, former witnesses had sworn most positively to the personal 
identity of Mackoull. He was the man who had negotiated the 
bills, notwithstanding the evidence offered in support of the 
alibi. The obstinacy of the banker Kensington made matters 
still worse, and Mackoull was criminally charged with five 
offences in the several towns and places named ; four of them 
were capital, and a conviction on either would have involved 
the forfeiture of his life. 

A further hearing was deferred till April 23rd, when Grimaldi 
and his wife again attended, and swore to the truth of their 
allegations: bail was tendered, offering full guarantee for 
MackoulTs appearance when required, but in vain ; the in- 
fluence of the Lombard-street firm was paramount ; bail, 
however unobjectionable, was refused ; and again was Mackoull 
remanded. _ On the 27th, he was brought up, as he supposed, 
to be admitted on bail ; but no ; it was for his committal to 
Newgate, preparatory to his trial at the ensuing Stafford as- 
sizes, so pertinaciously had his prosecutors driven matters, 
that there seemed no escape for him. Application was, how- 
ever, made to Sir Soulden Lawrence, one of the judges in the 
King's Bench, and on the affidavits of Joseph Grimaldi and 
his wife Mary Grimaldi, was Mackoull immediately enlarged. 
Mackoull may now speak for himself: 

" Two or three days previous to the assizes, my witnesses, 
Mr. Harmer, and myself; in all eighteen persons, left London 
for Stafford ; my mind filled with the most gloomy apprehen- 
sions. When we arrived at Lichfield, Mr. Harmer determined 
to finish the briefs before he went on to Stafford. 



circumstance they could really prove was known to myself 
and my solicitor ; he had a plain statement of facts to narrate, 
and though it ran to a considerable length the brief was drawn, 
and two copies made nearly in one day, in the following manner. 
As soon as Mr. Harmer had drawn a paragraph it was handed 
to Mr. Grimaldi, who [read or] dictated, and myself, and a 
young man we procured in the town wrote the fair copies for 

" Early in the morning of the commission day, Mr. Harmer 
and myself went on to Stafford, leaving my witnesses to follow. 
Mr. Grimaldi was the first witness called on my behalf; he 
stated exactly what had been set forth in his affidavit, and the 
solemn manner in which he gave his testimony carried convic- 
tion,, and made a lively impression upon every one present. He 
underwent the most strict examination ; but the more he was 
questioned, the more apparent was the truth of his evidence ; 
and those who expected to see the zany disgracing himself by 
his buffoonery, beheld him deliver his evidence with a firmness, 
which could only arise from conscious rectitude ; yet still with 
that caution and dignity which should characterize every honest 
man, when asserting the cause of truth under the awful obliga- 
tion of an oath. 

" I should here perhaps mention, that I felt some apprehen- 
sion, lest the prosecutor's Counsel should endeavour, in the 
cross-examination of Mr, Grimaldi, to throw him off his guard, 
by insinuating that his acquaintance with me was disreputable, 
and exert their abilities to make him appear ridiculous ; there- 
fore, on our way down, I hinted my fears, and begged him, for 
God's sake, to keej> his temper, to answer every question with 
calmness and propriety, and not to be irritated by any interro- 
gatories of counsel; to which he answered, 'Whatever were 
your transactions previous to my acquaintance I know not; 
but certainly I never observed anything improper in your 
conduct ; nor did I, till this unfortunate affair, hear anytning 
to your disadvantage: but admitting you to be the vilest 
character on earth, I am bound, as a man and a Christian, 
to speak the truth ; and I should consider myself highly 
culpable if I withheld my testimony, when, by giving it, 1 
might prevent an innocent man from losing his life. I am 
going to assert nothing but the truth, to do which can dis- 
honour no man. I assure you I am too much impressed with 
a sense of your unfortunate situation to be otherwise than 
serious ; and I trust those who hear me will be properly satis- 
fied, that I know my duty when giving testimony in a court 
of justice, as well as when performing before an audience at 
a public theatre.' These were his observations, and he fully 
verified them. 

"Mrs. Grimaldi was next called, and confirmed the testi- 
mony, of her husband in every particular. 


"Mr. Dauncey, the counsel for the prosecution, in his open- 
ing speech, had mentioned that I kept houses of a certain 
description, and endeavoured to impress the minds of the jury 
with a belief that no credit was to be given to any witness 
who could visit or associate with me. He even said it was 
material to consider whether I and my ^ witnesses were not 
guilty of a foul conspiracy to defeat justice ; and in order to 
lessen the effect of Mr. and Mrs. Grimaldi's evidence, they were 
interrogated by the prosecutor's counsel as to their knowledge 
of my keeping disorderly houses, which they most positively, 
and with truth, denied. 

" Mr. Justice Graham, in addressing the jury, told them he 
conceived they must entertain the same opinion with himself, 
that the witnesses for the prosecution had mistaken Mackoull 
for the person who had committed the offences, and if so, it 
would be unnecessary for him. to sum up the evidence. The 
jury instantly expressed their concurrence with the opinion 
of the judge ; and, after a trial of nine hours, Mackoull was 
pronounced Not guilty. 

. " How impotent now appeared the whole phalanx of my oppo- 
nent. During the examination of Mr. and Mrs. Grimaldi, young 
Millar was in the outer hall taunting the rest of my witnesses. 
He said ' he should soon do away with their evidence, and that, 
when he was called, it would be all over with me.' When Mrs. 
Grimaldi came out of court he personally insulted her. 

"Notwithstanding the satisfactory manner in which my 
innocence was established, my acquittal was attributed to base 
and unworthy means. It was said that Grimaldi was, no 
doubt, well paid for perjuring himself. The reputation of 
Mr. Grimaldi is so well established, that he cannot be affected 
by the gross slanders circulated respecting his evidence. He 
is well known to be incapable of a dishonourable action ; and 
far from being paid to give false testimony, he was a loser of 
his salary for the time he was absent, It is true, I offered 
to pay him the amount, but he generously declined accepting 
it, saying, he felt the injuries I had suffered, and would not 
add to my distress by receiving a shilling. 

" Facts have their point-marks as pleasurable as the enspan- 
elements of fable." 

L 2 


1807 to 1808. 

Bradbury, the Clown. His voluntary confinement in a Madhouse, to screen nn 
"Honourable" Thief. His release, strange conduct, subsequent career, and 
death. Dreadful Accident at Sadler's Wells. The Night-drives to Finchley. 
Trip to Birmingham. Mr. Macready, the Manager, and his curious Stage- 
properties. Sudden recall to Town. 

ON his return to town, of course, he went immediately to 
Sadler's Wells ; where, however, to his great surprise, he was 
informed by Mr. Dibdin that he was not wanted just yet, 
inasmuch as Bradbury had been engaged for a fortnight, and 
had not been there above half the time. He added, too, that 
Bradbury had made a great hit, and become very popular. 

This intelligence vexed Grimaldi not a little, as he naturally 
feared that the sudden popularity of the new favourite might 
affect that of the old one ; but his annoyance was much in- 
creased when he was informed that the proprietors were anxious 
that on the night of Bradbury's benefit, they should both play 
in the same pantomime. He yielded his consent with a very 
ill grace, and with the conviction that it would end in his entire 
loss of favour with the audience. When the proposition was 
made to Bradbury in his presence, it was easy to see that he 
liked it as little as himself; which was natural enough. It was 
not for him, however, to oppose the suggestion, as the combina- 
tion of strength would very likely draw a great house, and he 
had only taken half of it with the proprietors for that night. 

It was accordingly arranged that they should appear together 
on the following Saturday; Bradbury sustaining the part of 
the Clown for the first three scenes in the pantomime, then 
Grimaldi taking it for the next three scenes, and Bradbury 
coming in again to close the piece. Grimaldi was so much 
dissatisfied with these arrangements, that, on the morning of 
the day fixed, he told his friend Richard Lawrence (now or 
lately the Surrey treasurer) that he was certain it was " all up 
with him," and that Bradbury had thrown him completely out 
of favour with the public. 

The result, however, was not what he anticipated. The 
moment he appeared, he was received with the most tremendous 
applause. Animated by this encouraging reception, he redoubled 
his exertions, and went through his three scenes amidst the 


loudest and most enthusiastic plaudits. This reception rather 
vexed and confused the other who had to follow, and who, 
striving to outdo his predecessor, made such a complete failure, 
that, although it was his own benefit, and he might reasonably 
be supposed to have a good many friends in ^the house, he was 
actually hissed, and ran off the stage in great disorder. 
Grimaldi finished the pantomime for him, and the brilliant 
manner in which it went off sufficiently testified to him that 
all the fears and doubts to which he had previously given way 
were utterly groundless. Indeed, when the performances were 
over, Bradbury frankly admitted that he was the best Clown he 
had ever seen, and that, if he had been aware of his abilities, he 
would not have suffered himself to be put in competition with 
him on any account whatever. 

This Bradbury was a clever actor in his way, and a very good 
Clown, but of so different a character from Grimaldi, that it was 
hardly fair to either, to attempt instituting a comparison between 
them. He was a tumbling Clown rather than a humorous one, 
and would perform many wonderful and dangerous feats. He 
would jump from the flies that is, from the curtains above the 
stage down on to the stage itself, and do many other things 
equally surprising. To enable himself to go through these 
performances without danger, he always occupied a very long 
time in dressing for the part, and adjusting no fewer than nine 
strong pads about his person, in such a manner as to protect 
those parts of his frame which were the most liable to injury ; 
wearing one on the head, one round the shoulders, one round 
the hips, two on the elbows, two on the knees, and two on the 
heels of his shoes. Thus armed, he would proceed to throw and 
knock himself about in a manner which, to those unacquainted 
with his precautions, appeared to indicate an intense anxiety to 
meet with some severe, if not fatal accident. Grimaldi, on the 
contrary, never wore any padding in his life ; nor did he attempt 
any of the great exploits which distinguished Bradbury. His 
Clown was of a much more composed and subdued temperament, 
although much more comical and amusing, as is sufficiently 
shown by the result of the comparison between the two which 
has just been described. Bradbury was very original withal^ 
and copied no one ; for he had struck out a peculiar line for 
himself, and never departed from it. 

After the night at Sadler's Wells, Grimaldi heard nothing 
more of Bradbury for some time ; but at length received a note 
from him, dated, to his excessive surprise, from a private mad- 
house at Hoxton, requesting him to visit him there without 
delay, as he was exceedingly anxious to see him. He was much 
astonished at this request, as little or no intimacy had previously 
existed between them, and the place where the letter was dated 
was so very unexpected and startling. Not knowing what to 
do, he showed the letter to his friend Lawrence, who recom- 


mended him by all means to go, and volunteered to accompany 

As he gladly availed himself of this offer, they went together 
to Hoxton, and inquiring at the appointed place, were intro- 
duced to Bradbury, who was a patient in the asylum, and had 
submitted to the customary regulations : all his hair being 
shaved off, and his person being kept under strict restraint. 
Concluding that he had a maniac to deal with, Grimaldi spoke 
in a very gentle, quiet manner, which the patient observing, 
burst into a roar of laughter. 

" My dear fellow," said Bradbury, " don't look and speak to 
me in that way ! for though you find me here, treated as a 
patient, and with my head shaved, I am no more mad than you 

Grimaldi rather doubted this assurance, knowing it to be a 
common one with insane people, and therefore kept at a respect- 
ful distance. He was not long in discovering, however, that 
what Bradbury said was perfectly true. The circumstances 
which had led to his confinement in the lunatic asylum were 
briefly these : 

Bradbury was a very dashing person, keeping a tandem, and 
associating with many gentlemen and men of title. Upon one 
occasion, when he had been playing at Plymouth, a man-of-war 
was coming round from that town to Portsmouth, on board of 
which he had several friends among the officers, who took him 
on board with them. It was agreed that they should sup 
together at Portsmouth. A splendid meal having been pre- 
pared, they spent the night, or at least the larger portion of it, 
in great hilarity. As morning approached, Bradbury rose to 
retire, and then, with considerable surprise, discovered that a 
magnificent gold snuff-box, with a gold chain attached, which 
he was accustomed to wear in his fob, and which he had placed 
on the table for the use of his friends, had disappeared. He 
mentioned the circumstance, and a strict search was imme- 
diately instituted, but with no other effect than that of proving 
that the valuable box was gone. When every possible conjec- 
ture had been hazarded, and inquiry made without success, it 
was recollected that one of their companions, a young gentleman 
already writing " Honourable " before his name, and having a 
coronet in no very remote perspective, had retired from the 
table almost immediately after supper : it was suggested that 
he might have taken it in jest, for the purpose of alarming its 

Bradbury and several others went to this gentleman's room, 
and communicated to him the loss, and their doubts respecting 
him. The young gentleman positively denied any knowledge 
of the box, and, after bitterly reproaching them for their sus- 
picions, abruptly closed the door in their faces, leaving Brad- 
bury in a state of violent mortification at his loss. 


On the following morning, nothing more having been heard 
of the missing property, the gentleman, against whom Bradbury 
now nourished many serious misgivings, sent down word to his 
friends, that he was so much vexed with them for their conduct 
of the night before, in supposing it possible he could have taken 
anything away even in jest, that ne should not join them at 
breakfast, but, on the contrary, should immediately return to 
town. This message, instead of allaying, as it was doubtless 
intended to do, Bradbury's suspicions, caused him to think still 
worse of the matter ; and upon ascertaining that the young man 
had actually taken a place in the next coach which started for 
London, he lost no time in obtaining a warrant, by virtue of 
which he took him prisoner just as he was stepping into the 
coach. Upon searching his portmanteau, the box was found, 
together with several articles belonging to his other companions. 
Bradbury was determined to prosecute, not considering the 
young gentleman's nobility any palliation of the theft : he 
was instantly taken before a magistrate, and fully committed 
for trial. 

No sooner did this affair become known to the relatives and 
connexions of the offender, than, naturally anxious to preserve 
the good name of the family, they proceeded to offer large sums 
to Bradbury if he would relinquish the prosecution, all of 
which proposals he for some time steadily refused. At length 
they offered him a handsome annuity, nrmly secured for the 
whole of his life : he was not proof against this temptation, and 
at length signified his readiness to accept the bribe. 

The next point to be considered was, how Bradbury could 
accept the money without compounding a felony, and increasing 
the obloquy already cast upon the thief. He hit upon and 
carried into execution a most singular plan: he caused the 
report to be circulated that he had suddenly become insane 
committed many extravagant acts and in a short time was, 
apparently against his own will, but in reality by his own con- 
trivance, deprived of his liberty, and conveyed to the asylum 
where Grimaldi visited him. The consequence of this step was, 
that when the stealer of the snuff-box was placed upon his trial, 
no prosecutor appearing, he was adjudged not guilty, and 
liberated accordingly. Intelligence of this was directly sent to 
Bradbury, who proceeded to make arrangements for his own 
release : this was soon effected, and it was on the eve of the 
day of his departure that Grimaldi saw him in the madhouse. 
His only object in writing, or rather, in causing the letter to be 
written, for he could not write a line himself, nor read either, 
was, to ask him to play for his ensuing benefit at the Surrey 
Theatre, which he readily consented to do ; then wishing him a 
speedy deliverance from his disagreeable abode, he took his 

The next day Bradbury came out of the asylum, telling every- 


body that he was perfectly recovered, having got well in as 
sudien a manner as he fell ill, and in the following week his 
benefit took place. Grimaldi played and sang for him, and took 
money at the gallery door, to boot. The house was quite full, 
and everything went on well until Bradbury made his appear- 
ance, when, impelled by some strange and sudden whim, he was 
guilty of a disgusting piece of irreverence and impertinence. 
The consequence of this was, that the audience very naturally 
and properly took great offence, and upon a repetition of the 
conduct, literally hooted him from the stage. 

This was the ruin of Bradbury as a pantomimist. He did 
not appear again in London for many years, and, although he 
played occasionally in the country theatres, never afterwards 
regained his former rank and celebrity in the profession. As 
far as pecuniary matters were concerned, it did not matter much 
to him, the annuity affording him a handsome independence ; 
but whether he afterwards sold it and dissipated the money, 
or whether the annuity itself was discontinued in the course of 
years, this at least is certain, that when he died, which he did 
in London, in 1828, he was in very indifferent circumstances, if 
not in actual want. 

In October, Covent Garden commenced the new campaign, 
and brought forward " Mother Goose," which ran, with the same 
degree of success as before, until nearly Christmas, and was 
played altogether twenty-nine times. 

On the 15th of this month, a most frightful accident occurred 
at Sadler's Wells. > The pantomime was played first that night, 
which, joined to his having nothing to do at Covent Garaen, 
enabled Grimaldi to go home early to bed. At midnight he was 
awakened by a great noise in the street, and loud and repeated 
knocks at the door of his house : at first he concluded it might 
be some idle party amusing themselves by knocking and running 
away ; an intellectual amusement not at that time exclusively 
confined to a few gentlemen of high degree ; but finding that it 
was repeated, and that the noise without increased, he hastily 
slipped on a morning-gown and trowsers, and hurried to the 

The people who were clamouring outside, were for the most 
part friends, who exclaimed, when he appeared, that they had 
merely come to assure themselves of his personal safety, and 
were rejoiced to find that he had escaped. He now learned, for 
the first time, that some vagabonds in the pit of the theatre had 
raised a cry of " I 1 ire !" during the performance of the last 
piece, " The Ocean Fiend," and that the audience had risen 
simultaneously to make their escape : that a violent rush to- 
wards the doors had ensued, and that in the confusion and fright 
a most fearful loss of life had taken place. He waited to hear 
no more, but instantly ran off to the theatre. 

On arriving there, he found the crowd of people collected 


around it so dense, as to render approach by the usual path 
impossible. Filled with anxiety, and determined to ascertain 
the real state of the case, he ran round to the opposite bank of 
the New River, plunged in, swam across, and finding the parlour 
window open, and a light at the other end of the room, threw up 
the sash and jumped in a la Harlequin. What was his horror, 
on looking round, to discover that there lay stretched in the 
apartment no^fewer than nine dead bodies ! yes ! there lay the 
remains of nine human beings, lifeless, and scarcely yet cold, 
whom a few hours back he had been himself exciting to shouts 
of laughter. Paralysed by the sad sight, he stood awhile with- 
out the power of motion ; then, hurrying to the door, hastily 
sought to rid himself of the dreadful scene. It was locked 
without, and he vainly strove to open it, so knocked violently 
for assistance. At first the family of Mr. Hughes were greatly 
terrified at hearing these sounds issuing from a room tenanted, 
as they imagined, only by the dead ; but at length recognising 
the voice, they unlocked the door, and he gladly emerged from 
the apartment. 

It was not known until next day how many lives were lost ; 
but when the actual loss of life could be ascertained, it appeared 
that twenty-three people, male and female, were killed, not to 
mention many dangerous and severe accidents. _ This melan- 
choly catastrophe was mainly attributable to the imprudence of 
those persons who reached the theatre doors first, and who, 
upon finding that nothing really was the matter, sought to 
return to their places. The meeting of the two crowds in the 
passages, caused a complete stoppage ; and this leading the 
people inside to believe that all egress was blocked up, impelled 
them to make violent efforts to escape, for the most part fatal 
to the unfortunate persons who tried them. Several people 
flung themselves from the gallery into the pit, others rushed 
hopelessly into the densest part of the crowd and were suffo- 
cated, others were trodden under foot, and hence the melan- 
choly result. 

This accident happening on the last night but four of the 
season, it was deemed prudent not to re-open the house that 
year.* Such performers as were entitled to benefits, and had 
not yet taken them, took them at the Circus ; and thus ter- 

* The house closed, but re-opened for two nights on Monday, November 2, 
and Tuesday, November 3. The whole proceeds were given to the relations of 
the deceased, and to the maimed sufferers on that luckless night, the 15th of the 
preceding month. The entire company engaged in the theatre tendered their 
services gratuitously : the two nights' representations produced 2001. 7s., which 
was beneficially and impartially distributed by the proprietors, a proceeding 
which elicited the following declaration : 

" We, the magistrates, who have acted on this occasion, feel it incumbent upon 
us to express to the public our approbation of the conduct of the proprietors of 
Sadler's Wells, who used, as it appears, every possible exertion at the time, and 
have shown every attention to alleviate, as much as was in their power, the dis- 


minated tlie season of 1807, the most melancholy termination 
of a season which Sadler's Wells Theatre had ever known. 

On the 26th of December, was produced " Harlequin in his 
Element ; or, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air," in which Bologna 
and Grimaldi were the harlequin and clown. It was highly 
successful, and in Grimaldi's opinion deservedly so, for he 
always considered it one of the best pantomimes in which he 
ever played. During this season, he also performed in an 
unsuccessful melo-drama, entitled " Bonifacio and Bridgetino,"* 
and also Baptiste, in "Raymond and Agnes," which latter 
piece went off very well, and was repeated several times. 

At this time he had a cottage at Finchley,t to which place he 
used to drive down in his gig after the performances. If there 
were no rehearsal, he remained there until the following after- 
noon ; if there were, he returned to town immediately after 
breakfast. His principal reason for taking the house originally, 
was that his young son, of whom he was extremely fond, might 
have the benefit of country air: but both he and his wife 
became so much attached to it, that when his original term 
expired he renewed the lease, and retained it altogether for 
several years. 

He met with numerous little adventures during these night- 
drives after the theatre : sometimes he fell asleep as soon as he 
had turned out of town, and only awoke when he arrived at his 
own gate. One night he was so fatigued with his performance 
that he still continued to sleep, when the horse, a very steady 
one, who could always find his way home without assistance, 
had ^topped at the gate. The best of it was, that upon this 
particular night, the man-servant, who always sat up for him, 
had fallen asleep too ; so there sat he slumbering on one side of 
the fence, while on the other side, not six feet off, sat his master 
in the gig, fast asleep too ; and so they both remained, until the 
violent snorting of the horse, which probably thought it high 
time to turn in for the night, awoke the man, who roused the 
master, and speedily set all to rights. But as one circumstance 
which occurred to him during these night journeys will be nar- 
rated at greater length in another part of the volume, we will 
leave the subject for the present. 

tress occasioned by so melancholy an event ; and at the same time we feel a 
pleasure in bearing our testimonies to the grateful deportment of those who have 
experienced the attention, the humanity, and the liberal relief which has been 
afforded them. 

W. Wix. 

" SADLER'S WELLS, Nov. 27, 1807." 

* Bologna Jun. and Grimaldi were the two heroes in this piece, produced for 
the first time at Covent Garden Theatre, on Thursday, March 31, 1808. 

t On the edge of the common, between the seventh and eighth mile stone, on 
the left-hand side of the road from town. 


He very grievously offended Mr. Fawcett, in March, 1808, from 
a very slight cause, and without the remotest intention of doing 
so. Fawcett called one afternoon at his cottage at Finchley, on 
his road to town from his own house at Totteridge, which was 
only two miles distant from Grimaldi's, and asked Grimaldi to 
play for his benefit, then close at hand : this he most willingly 
promised to do 

"Ah," said Fawcett, "but understand I don't want you to 
play clown or anything of that sort : I want you to do Brocket 
in the ' Son-in-Law.' " 

Grimaldi demurred a little to this proposition, considering 
that as he had made a great hit in one branch of Ms profession, 
he could not do better than retain his standing in it, without 
attempting some new line in which, by failure, he might injure 
his reputation. Not wishing to disoblige Mr. Fawcett if he 
could possibly help it, he replied that he must decline giving 
an answer at that moment, but that in the course of a day or 
two he would write. Having consulted his friends in the mean 
time, and being strongly advised by them not to appear in the 
character Mr. Fawcett had mentioned, he wrote, declining in 
respectful terms to do so, and stating the grounds of his objec- 
tion. Odd as it may appear, the little circumstance angered 
him much: he never afterwards behaved towards him with 
any cordiality, and for the three years immediately following, 
never so much as spoke to or noticed him whenever they 
chanced to meet. 

On the 14th, he received permission from Mr. Kemble to play 
for his sister-in-law's benefit at the Birmingham theatre, which 
was then under the management of Mr. Macready, the father 
of the great tragedian. Immediately upon his arrival, Grimaldi 
repaired to his hotel, and was welcomed by Mr. Macready with 
much cordiality and politeness, proposing that he should remain 
in Birmingham two, or, if possible, three nights after the benefit 
at which he was announced to perform, and offering terms of 
the most liberal description. Anticipating a proposal of this 
nature, Grimaldi had, before he left town inquired what the 
performances were likely to be at Covent Garden for some days 
to come. Finding that if the existing arrangements were 
adhered to, he could not be wanted for at least a week, he had 
resolved to accept any good offer that might be made to him at 
Birmingham, and therefore closed with Mr. Macready, without 
hesitation. After breakfast they walked together to the theatre 
to rehearse ; and here Grimaldi discovered a great lack of those 
adjuncts of stage effect technically known as "properties:" 
there were no tricks, nor indeed was there anything requisite for 
pantomimic business. After vainly endeavouring to devise 
some means by which the requisite articles could be dispensed 
with, he mentioned his embarrassment to the manager. 

"What! properties ?" exclaimed that gentleman: "wonder- 


fid! you London stars require a hundred things, where we 
country people are content with one : however, whatever you 
want you snail have. Here, Will, go down to the market and 
buy a small pig, a goose, and two ducks. Mr. Grimaldi wants 
some properties, and must have them." 

The man grinned, took the money, and went away. After 
some reflection Grimaldi decided in his own mind that the 
manager's directions had been couched in some peculiar phrases 
common to the theatre, and at once went about arranging six 
pantomime scenes, with which the evening's entertainments 
were to conclude. While he was thus engaged, a violent uproar 
and loud shouts of laughter hailed the return of the messenger, 
who, haying fulfilled his commission to the very letter, pre- 
sented him with a small pig, a goose, and two ducks, all alive, 
and furthermore, with Mr. Macready's compliments, and he 
deeply regretted to say that those were all the properties in th<s 

He accepted them with many thanks, and arranged a little busi- 
ness accordingly He caused the old man in the pantomime and 
his daughter to enter, immediately after the rising of the curtain, 
as though they had just come back from market, while he himself, 
as clown and their servant, followed, carrying their purchases. 
He dressed himself in an old livery coat with immense pockets, 
and a huge cocked hat ; both were, of course, over his clown's 
costume. At his back, he carried a basket laden with carrots 
and turnips; stuffed a duck into each pocket, leaving their 
heads hanging out ; carried the pig under x>ne arm, and the 
goose under the other. Thus fitted and attired, he presented 
himself to the audience, and was received with roars of laughter. 
His songs were all encored " Tippitywitchit " three times, and 
the hit was most decided. The house was full to the ceiling, 
and it was equally full on the following night, when he played 
Scaramouch ; the third night was as good as any of the pre- 
ceding ; and the fourth, which terminated his engagement, 
was as successful as the rest. Just as he was going on the stage 
on this last evening, and had even taken up his " properties " 
for that purpose, a note was put into his hands, which was 
dated that morning, and had just arrived from London, whence 
it had been despatched with all possible speed. He opened it 
hastily, and read, in the hand of an intimate friend, 

"DEAR JOE, They have announced you to play to-morrow 
night at Covent Garden ; and as they know you have not 
returned from Birmingham, I fear it is done to injure you. 
Lose not a moment, but start immediately on the receipt of 

He instantly ran to Mr. Macready, and showing him the 
letter^ told him, that, although he was very sorry to disappoint 
his Birmingham friends, he could not stop to play. 


" Not stop to play !" echoed the manager : " why, my good 
fellow, they will pull the house down. You must stop to play, 
and post up to London afterwards. I'll take care that a chaise 
and four are waiting for you at the stage-door, and that every- 
thing shall be ready for you to start, the moment you have 
finished your business." 

He played with the same success to a brilliant house, received 
294Z. from the manager as his remuneration for three nights, 
tlirew himself into the chaise, and at twelve o'clock, within a 
few minutes after he had quitted the stage, was on his road to 

The weather was tempestuous, the roads in a most desperate 
condition, and, to make matters worse, he treated the postboys 
so liberally in the hope of accelerating their speed, that they 
became so drunk as to be scarcely able to sit their horses. After 
various escapes and perils, they discovered, at the end of an 
unusually long stage, that they had come fourteen miles out of 
the road, "all in consequence," as one of the boys said, with 
many hiccups, and much drunken gravity, " all in consequence 
of only taking one wrong turn." 

The result of this combination of mischances was, that he did 
not reach Salt Hill until seven o'clock on the following evening; 
having been nineteen hours on the road. Here he jumped into 
another chaise which fortunately stood ready at the door, and 
hurried up to London, without venturing to stay for any re- 
freshment whatever. He drove straight to the theatre, where 
he found his friend awaiting his arrival with great trepidation. 
Hearing that the overture to the piece in which he was to per- 
form was then playing, he gave his friend the 294Z. to take care 
of, ran to his dressing-room, dressed for his part, which Farley 
had already made preparations for performing himself, ana 
went on the stage the moment he got his cue, much to the 
astonishment of his friends, and greatly to the surprise of some 
individuals connected with the management of the theatre, who 
had anticipated a very different result from his visit to Bir- 



1808 TO 1809. 

Covent Garden Theatre destroyed by fire Grimaldi makes a trip to Manchester: 
he meets with an accident there, and another at Liverpool The Sir Hugh 
Middleton Tavern at Sadler's Wells, and a description of some of its fre- 
quenters, necessary to a full understanding of the succeeding chapter. 

Or course some unforeseen circumstance was to happen, and some 
unexpected demand to be made on the money so easily earned. 
A short time before he went to Birmingham, being short of cash, 
he had commissioned a friend on whom he placed great reliance 
to get his bill at one month for 15QL discounted. The friend put 
the bill into his pocket-book, and promised to bring the money 
at night. Night came, but the money did not : it had not 
arrived when he returned from Birmingham ; the friend was 
nowhere to be found, and he had soon afterwards the satisfaction 
of paying the whole sum, without having received a sixpence of 
the money. 

During the season of 1808, at Sadler's Wells, the principal 
and most successful part he had was in a burletta, called "Odd 
Eish ; or, Mrs. Scaite in the Seraglio." His two benefits were 
bumpers,* and the theatre closed on the 26th of September, after 
another most profitable campaign. 

The Covent Garden season which had terminated on the 13th 
of July,f recommenced on the 12th of September. Seven days 

* Grimaldi's two benefits at Sadler's "Wells, were special favours granted to 


or, Off She Goes." In the former, he sang the afterwards popular ditty of the 
" Smithfield Bargain, or Will Patty;" in the latter the songs of "Oh! my 
deary!" and "A Bull in a China Shop." The season, which continued till 
November the first, concluded with a grand Aquatic Komance, called the 
" Magic Minstrel ;" in this piece Grimaldi played Mulock ; and Darnsit, after- 
wards of Covent Garden, the part of Oberon, the Magic Minstrel. In the 
pantomime of " Harlequin's Lottery," in which Mrs. Cawse, (who died in 1845,) 
personated Fortune, the chief scenes had reference to Bish's far-famed lottery 

t The season of 1807-8, at Covent Garden, closed June 27th, 1808, not the 
13th of July. That of 1808-9, began September 12th, and on Monday 19th were 
performed " Pizarro," and the " Portrait of Cervantes." About four o'clock on 
the following morning, flames were seen to issue from the roof, alarm was given, 
but too late ; in two hours more, the whole theatre, all the adjacent buildings 
in Hart-street and Bow-street, were a pile of smouldering ruins. The fire was 
occasioned by leaving a German stove in the property-room, charged with fuel, 
after the man had left ; the pipe is supposed to have conducted the heat to tlit 
roof, which by that means took fire. The Covent Garden Company continued 
their season at the King's Theatre, from September 28th till December 3rd, anrf 
removed to the Haymarket on December 5th 


afterwards the theatre was .burned to the ground, after the per- 
formance of " Pizarro," and the " Portrait of Cervantes." The 
company removed to the Italian Opera-house, and subsequently 
to the Haymarket ; but as Grinialdi was not wanted, he availed 
himself of an offer to visit the Manchester theatre, then managed 
by Messrs. Ward, Lewis, and Knight, and left town for that 
purpose. There was a strong rivalry between the coach pro- 
prietors on the road at that time, but for the safety of the pas- 
sengers, it was expressly understood between them, that the 
coaches should never be allowed to pass each other, but that the 
coach which took the lead at starting should retain it all the 
way through, unless any temporary stoppage of the first vehicle 
enabled the second to assume the post of honour. Grimaldi's 
coach was the last, and just as they were going into Macclesfield, 
the Defiance, (which was the name of the other coach,) stopping 
to change horses and to allow the passengers to take tea, became 
entangled with the wheels of the second vehicle in the darkness 
of the evening ; and when the second coach overset, which it did 
immediately, the empty Defiance fell upon the top of it so neatly 
and dexterously, that the passengers were obliged to be dragged 
through the two coaches before they could be extricated. Eor- 
tunately nobody was much hurt, although Grimaldi was the 
worst off, for he was the undermost, and five stout men (they 
carried six inside at that time) fell on the top of him. The only 
disagreeable part of the matter was, that they were delayed up- 
wards of four hours, and that the unfortunate Defiance was left 
both literally and figuratively on the road for a much longer 

During this provincial trip, he played six nights at Man 
Chester and one at Liverpool, for which he received in all 2511. 
The only drawback upon the expedition was, that he sustained 
two accidents, the effects of which were quite bad enough, but 
might have been much more serious. He arranged and got up 
a very pretty little pantomime called "Castles in the Air," in 
which he of course played Clown. His first appearance was to 
be from a large bowl, placed in the centre of the stage, and 
labelled " Gooseberry Fool ;"* to pass through which, it was 
necessary for him to ascend from beneath the stage, through a 
trap- door which the bowl concealed. On the first night of the 
piece he ascended from below at the proper time ; but when he 
gained the level of the stage, the ropes which were attached to 
the trap broke, and he fell back into the cellar, from which he 
had just risen. He was terribly shaken and stunned by the fall, 
but quickly recovering himself, he ascended the stairs, went on 
the stage, and played as though nothing had happened to dis- 
compose him. In spite of his assumed calmness, however, he 

* " Castles in the Air ; or, Columbine Cowslip," was not produced till the 
close of the season of 1809, at Sadler's Wells. 


was in agony during the whole of the first scene ; but the pain 
wholly left him as he went on, in the excitement of the part ; 
and by the time he had finished the pantomime, he was as well 
as he had been before its commencement. 

This was at Manchester. The Liverpool Theatre belonging 
to the same managers, and being resorted to by the same com- 
pany, they all travelled thither for one night, for the purpose of 
playing " Castles in the Air," as the afterpiece, having the same 
master-carpenter with them as they had at Manchester. Grimaldi 
sought the man out, and explaining to him the nature of the 
accident which had happened through his negligence on the 
previous night, entreated him to render all secure for that even- 
ing, and to prevent a repetition of the occurrence. This he 
promised, but failed to do notwithstanding, for a precisely 
similar accident took place here. Grrimaldi had ascended to the 
stage, and got his head through the bowl, when, as a shout of 
laughter and welcome broke from the audience, the ropes gave 
way, and he was left struggling in the trap. For a second or 
two he did not fall ; for, having passed through the trap nearly 
to his waist, he strove to support himself by his arms. All his 
endeavours, however, were vain ; the weight of his body pulled 
him downwards, and the trap being small his elbows were 
caught by the edges, and forced together above his head, thereby 
straining his shoulders to such an extent that he thought his 
arms were wrested from their sockets. He fell a considerable 
distance, and when he rose from the ground, was in excessive 
p^ain. He managed with great difficulty to crawl through the 
first scene, and then warming with his exertions and kindling 
with the great applause he received, he rallied successfully, and 
got through the part with flying colours. 

When he reached his inn, which, now that the excitement of 
acting was over, was a task of considerable difficulty, he was 
well rubbed with the infallible embrocation, and put to bed in a 
very helpless state. On the following morning, scarcely able to 
crawl, he was assisted into the coach, and returned home. 

Grimaldi acted very little at the Haymarket * with the Co vent 
Garden Company, till after Christmas, when " Mother Goose" 
was revived, with a new last scene, representing the ruins of 
Covent Garden Theatre, transformed by a touch of Harlequin's 
wand into a new and splendid building. In March he sustained 
for the first time the character of Kanko in "La Perouse." He 

* Grimaldi was not in requisition for any part at the Haymarket, till "Mother 
Goose" was revived with two new scenes, and subsequently a third, on Monday, 
December 26, 1808. " La Perouse" was revived, "for the first time these four 
s," on Thursday, January 26, 1809, and not in March, as here stated. La 

Perouse was performed by Bologna, junior ; Madame Perouse, by Miss Bristow; 
Umba, by Miss Adams; Kanko, suitor to Umba, by Mr. Grimaldi; their 
first appearance in those characters. The eighteenth representation was on 


took his benefit on the 23rd of May.* The season terminated 
a few nights afterwards ; and with it, it may be incidentally- 
observed, terminated the theatrical career of the celebrated 
Lewis, who retired from the stage at this period. 

Sadler's Wells presented no particular novelty in 1809.t Its 
chief production was a piece called "Johnnie Armstrong," in 
which Grimaldi played Kirstie, a kind of " Touchstone :" it was 
very successful, and the season closed, as all the Sadler's Wells 
seasons did at that time, with great profits. 

Before adverting to the little adventure arising out of one of 
the nocturnal rides to which reference has been already made, it 
will be necessary to mention a few circumstances, upon which 
such interest as it possesses mainly depends. 

The pantomime was usually played first, at Sadler's Wells. 
When this was the case Grimaldi was at liberty by about half- 
past eight : he would sometimes call at the Sir Hugh Myddleton, 
and take a glass o wine and water with some friends who fre- 
quented the house, and then start off in his gig to Einchley. 

He had several times met at this tavern a young man of the 
name of George Hamilton, a working jeweller, residing some- 
where in Clerkenwell, a sociable good-tempered merry fellow 
enough, but rather too much addicted to drinking and squander- 
ing his money. This man was very sensitive upon the subject 
of trade, being, as the phrase goes, above his business, having an 
ambition to be a gentleman, and resenting any allusion to his 
occupation as a personal afiront. He was a very ingenious and 
skilful man at his business, and could earn a great deal of money; 
but his companions suspected that these absurdities led him into 
spending more than he could well afford. Grimaldi was so 
strongly impressed with this opinion, that, with a good-hearted 
impulse, he frequently felt tempted to remonstrate with him 
upon his folly. Their slight intimacy, however, restrained him, 
and the man continued to take his own course. 

These were his mental peculiarities : he had a remarkable 
physical peculiarity besides, wanting, either from an accident 

* On Joe's benefit night was performed the "Busy Body;" Marplot, by Mr. 
Lewis; and "Mother Goose." Mr. Lewis took his final leave of the stage, on 
the 29th, as the Copper Captain, in "Kule a Wife and Have a Wife ;" "The 
Ghost;" and "Valentine and Orson." The season terminated on May 31st, 
with the " Exile," and "Valentine and Orson." 

t Sadler's Wells opened at Easter, April 3, 1809, and in the pantomime of 
" Fashion's Fool ; or, The Aquatic Harlequin," Grimaldi played Clown, and 
nane the songs of " Odd Fish," and the " Whip Club." On Whit Monday, May 
22, he played the Wild Man, in the Aquatic Melo-Dramatic Komance of " The 
Wild Man: or, Water Pageant." On July 31, a new Harlequinade, called 
"Castles in the Air; or, Columbine Cowslip," was produced. Grimaldi played 
Clown, with the Song of " Looney's Lamentation for Miss Margery Muggins," 
and a quartetto caricatura, called "Cut and Come Again; or, The Clown's 
Ordinary." On Mrs. C. Dibdin's night, October 16, Grimaldi, in compliment 
to her, sang three new songs, in addition to those pertaining to " Castles in th 


or a natural defect, the third finger of his left hand. "Whether 
he wished to conceal this imperfection, or had some other defect 
in the same hand, is uncertain ; hut he invariably kept his little 
finger in a bent position beneath the palm of it ; so that when he 
sat, or walked, as he usually did, with his left hand half hidden 
in his pocket, the defect was not observable ; but when he sud- 
denly changed his position, or drew forth his hand in discourse, 
it had always the appearance of having only two fingers 
upon it. 

Grirnaldi's first acquaintance with this person was in 1808, 
when he was very frequently at Sadler's Wells, and the Sir 
Hugh Myddleton^ At tne termination of the summer season he 
lost sight of him, in consequence of his engagements taking him 
elsewhere ; but in Easter 1809, when Sadler's Wells re-opened, 
and Grimaldi resumed his habit of calling at the tavern for half 
an hour or so, before driving out to Finchley, he again encoun- 
tered him. ^ He had been married in the interval, and frequently 
took his wife, a pretty young creature, to the tavern with him, 
as at that time many tradesmen in the neighbourhood were 
accustomed to do. 

Grimaldi paid little attention to these circumstances at first ; 
"but a change had come over the man which irresistibly attracted 
his attention. He had become very violent and irritable, had 
acquired a nervous restlessness of manner, an occasional inco- 
herence of speech, a wildness of look, and betrayed many other 
indications of a mind somewhat disordered. He dressed differ- 
ently too : formerly he had been neatly attired, and looked like 
a respectable, well-doing man ; but now he was showy and 
gaudy, wore a number of large rings and other articles of cheap 
jewellery, and his desire to be thought a great man had increased, 
greatly, so much so, indeed, that his declamations against trade 
and all concerned in it, deeply affronted the worthies who were 
wont to assemble at the Sir Hugh, and occasioned many disputes 
and altercations. 

All these things evidently made the wife very unhappy. Al- 
though he usually abstained from drinking to his customary 
excess in her presence, he said and did enough to make her 
wretched, and frequently, when she thought she was unobserved, 
she would sit in a remote corner and weep bitterly. 

One night, Hamilton brought with him a new friend, a man 
of very sinister appearance and marvellously ill-favoured coun- 
tenance. They were, or affected to be, both greatly intoxicated. 
The strange man was introduced by his friend to Grimaldi, and 
began entering into conversation with him ; but as there was 
something remarkably repulsive in his appearance, he rose and 
left the room. 

The two men came together very often. Nobody knew who 
or what the stranger was ; nobody liked or even spoke to him ; 
and it was constantly observed that whenever Hamilton was in 


a state of gross intoxication, he was in this person's company. 
The old visitors of the Sir Hugh shook their heads mysteriously, 
and hoped he had not fallen into bad company ; although, truth 
to tell, they could not help thinking that appearances were 
greatly against him. 

One night Grimaldi was sitting alone in the room, reading 
the newspaper, when Hamilton, the stranger, and the poor wife 
came in together. The former was in a state of intoxication, 
so much so that he could scarcely stand. The wife had evidently 
been crying, and seemed truly wretched ; but the strange man 
wore an air of dogged triumph that made him look perfectly 

Curious to see what passed, Grimaldi held the paper before 
his face, and watched them closely. They did not recognise 
him, but walked to the other end of the room. Hamilton hic- 
coughed forth an order for something to drink, stammering in 
reply to the earnest entreaties of his wife, that he would go 
home directly he had taken "this one glass more." It was 
brought, but not tasted, for his head had fallen upon the table, 
and he was fast asleep before the liquor came. 

The man whom he nad _ a minute before named for the first 
time Archer he called him regarded his sleeping companion 
in silence for some minutes, and then leaning behind him to 
reach the wife, who was on the other side, touched her lightly 
on the shoulder. She looked up, and he, pointing with a con- 
temptuous air to the sleeping drunkard, took her hand and 
pressed it in a manner which it was impossible to misunderstand. 
She started indignantly from her seat, and darted at the man a 
look which completely quelled him. He sat with his arms 
folded, and his eyes fixecl on the ground for above a quarter of 
an f hour, and then, suddenly rousing himself, tendered his 
assistance in attempting to awaken the husband. His harsh 
voice and rough gestures accomplished what the whispered per- 
suasion of the wife had been unable to effect : Hamilton awoke, 
emptied his glass, and they all left the apartment together: 
she studiously avoiding any contact with the man called 

This little scene interested the observer much. He sat think- 
ing upon what had passed, so long, that he was upwards of an 
hour later than usual in reaching home. He felt a strong in- 
clination to speak to Hamilton, and kindly but firmly to tell 
him what he had seen, and what he thought. On consideration, 
however, he determined not to interfere, deeming it more pru- 
dent to leave the issue to the good sense and proper feeling of 
his wife, who evidently knew what danger threatened her, and 
how to avert it. 

The situation of these persons occupied so much of his 
thoughts, that when he called as usual at the tavern next night, 
he felt a strong anxiety to meet them there again. He was 

1C 8 


disappointed, for Hamilton was seated in the room alone. Be 
nodded as Grimaldi entered, and said, 

" Are you going- to Finchley to-night ?" 

" No," was the reply ; " I wish I was : I have an engagement 
at my house here in town which will prevent my doing so ; " 

" I thought you always went there on summer evenings," said 
Hamilton, glancing over the paper as he spoke, and speaking in 
in uninterested and careless style 

" JSTo, not always," said Grimaldi: "pretty nearly though 
five nights out of six." 

" Then you'll go to morrow r" asked Hamilton. 

" Oh, certainly ! to-morrow, and every night this week except 

They exchanged a " Good-evening !" and parted. 

It so happened that Grimaldi was reluctantly ohliged to 
remain in town, not only next night, but the night after also, 
in consequence of the arrival in town of some country friends. 
On the third night, the 9th of July, he called at the tavern to 
take his usual glass, before mounting his gig, and, fris mind 
being still occupied with thoughts of the poor young woman and 
her dissipated husband, he inquired whether Hamilton had 
been there that night. The reply was, he had not : he had not 
been there for three evenings, or, in other words, since he had 
seen and spoken to him. 

When Grimaldi produced his purse to pay for the wine and 
water he had drunk, he found ne had nothing but two five- 
pound notes. _ He gave the waiter one, requesting change, and 
put the other in his waistcoat pocket. He usually carried notes 
in a pocket-book, but upon this evening he did not happen to 
have it about him ; in fact, he had received the notes very un- 
expectedly while he was in the theatre, from a person who owed 
him money. He put the change in his purse, got into the gig, 
and drove homeward. 

On that particular evening Grimaldi had a call to make in 
Tottenham- court-road, which delayed him for some little time. 
As he was passing through Kentish Town, a friend, who was 
standing at his door, the weather being sultry, insisted upon his 
coming in and taking a glass of wine : this detained him again, 
as they stood chatting for half an hour or so ; and by the time 
he had resumed his journey homewards it was near the middle 
of the night. 



His Adventure on Highgate Hill, and its consequences. 

IT was a fine, clear night ; there was no moon, but the stars 
were shining brightly; the air was soft and fresh, and very 
pleasant after the heat of the day. Grimaldi drove on at a 
quicker pace than usual, fearing that they might be alarmed at 
home by his being so late, and having just heard some distant 
clock strike the three quarters after eleven. Suddenly the 
horse stopped. 

Near the spot was a ridge across the road for the purpose of 
draining the fields on the higher side, forming a little hollow, 
which in the summer was dry, and in the winter generally full 
of mud. The horse knew it well, being accustomed to pause 
there for a minute, to cross the ditch slowly, and then to resume 
his usual trot. Bending forward to assure himself that he had 
arrived at this part of the road, Grimaldi heard a low whistle, 
and immediately afterwards three men darted out of a hedge. 
One seized the horse's bridle, and the two others rushed up, one 
to each side of the gig ; then, presenting pistols, they demanded 
his money. 

Grimaldi sat for a moment quite incapable of speaking, the 
surprise had come so suddenly upon aim ; but hearing the 
cocking of a pistol close beside him, he roused himself, and 
seeing that he had no chance against three armed men, cried, 

"Mercy, gentlemen, mercy !" 

"You wont be hurt," said the man on his left, " so long as 
you give your money directly." 

"Ho, no," said the man at the horse's head, "you wont be 
hurt. Your money is what we want." 

"You shall have it," he answered; "but I expect you not 
to injure me." He fumbled at his pocket for his purse, and 
while doing so looked narrowly at the persons by whom he was 
attacked. They all wore black crape over their faces, so that 
not a feature was discernible, and were clad in very large black 
frocks. The disguises were complete: it was impossible to 
make out anything of their appearance. 

"Look sharp!" said the left-hand man; "the money! 
come, we can't stay here." 

Grimaldi extricated the purse, and handed it to the speaker. 
The man at the horse's head looked sharply on, and cried, 


" Tom, what has he given you ?" 

" His purse," was the reply. 

" That wont do," said the man. " You have more money 
about you ; I know you have : come, hand over, will ye ? " 

" I have not, indeed," replied Grimaldi. " Sometimes I 
carry a little in my pocket-book ; but to-night I forgot to bring 
it with me." 

" You have more money with you, and you know it," said the 
man who held the bridle : " you have got a bank-note in your 
left-hand waistcoat pocket." 

The circumstance had really escaped Grimaldi's memory; 
but> being reminded of it, he drew forth the note, and delivered 
it to the man to whom he had resigned his purse. 

" It's all right, Tom," said the man on his right ; " we had 
better be off now." 

As the man spoke, he moved round the back of the gig, as if 
with the intention of going away. It was the first time he had 
uttered a word, and his voice struck Grimaldi as being a familiar 
one, though he could not, in his confusion, recollect where or 
when he had heard it. He had no time to reflect on the matter, 
for the man at the horse's head demanded of the man on his 
left whether he had got his watch. 

"No," said the fellow, " I forgot his watch. Give it here !" 
"With these words he again raised his pistol, which had been all 
this time, and still was, on full cock. 

Grimaldi gave it up, but not without a sigh, for ^it was the 
very watch which had been presented to him with his own por- 
trait on the dial-plate. As ne put it into the man's hand, he 

" If you knew who I am, you would not treat me in this 

" Oh, we know you well enough, Mr. Grimaldi," said the man 
at the reins ; " we have been waiting for you these three nights, 
and began to think you would not come to-night." 

The other men laughed, and the man whose voice had struck 
him, recommended his companion to give the watch back 

" Oh yes, I dare say !" said the man, with a sneer, who held 
the horse. 

" Well, I don't know," said the fellow who had been addressed 
as Tom ; "I don't think it's worth a couple of pounds." 

" No, no, it is not ; and besides, I say he shall have it again," 
cried the man, whose voice, familiar at first, now seemed per- 
fectly well known to Grimaldi. "Here!" He snatched the 
watch from his comrade's hand, who made no effort to retain it, 
and handed it into the gig. Grimaldi gladly received it back ; 
but, in the act of doing so, he saw that the hand from which 
he took it had, or appeared to have, but two fingers upon it. 

The watch was no sooner returned than the robbers made off 


with great rapidity, and he was once again alone, in a far greater 
state of alarm and trepidation than when the robbers surrounded 
him. The revulsion of feeling was so great, that he felt as if his 
existence depended upon instant flight, and that his flight would 
be far more speedy if he ran than if he rode. Acting upon the 
impulse of his disordered nerves, he sprang at once out of the 
gig, but, not jumping sufficiently high to clear it, was thrown, 
into the road, head foremost, with great force, and struck his 
temple heavily against a flint. The blow and the previous 
fright quite bewildered him, but did not render him insensible ; 
he was up again directly, and found himself, at the expiration 
of some ten minutes, stopped by the patrol, to whom he was 
well known. He had no recollection of running, but he had run 
for a long distance, and the first thing he was conscious of, was 
the being half-supported by this man, and receiving many eager 
inquiries what had befallen him. 

Grimaldi spoke as plainly as his agitation would permit, and 
related what had passed. 

" Just what I have expected to happen to somebody for these 
many nights past," said the patrol. " Sir, I have watched thosa 
three men repeatedly ; it was only last night I warned 'em that 
I did not like to see them loitering about my beat, and that if 
anything wrong happened I should suspect them. Make your 
mind easy, sir ; I know where they are to be found, and I'll lay 
my life that in less than two hours I have them safe." 

" And what am I to do ?" Grimaldi inquired. 

" Nothing to-night, sir," was the patrol's reply ; " I would 
only recommend you to get home as fast as you can. At twelve 
o'clock to-morrow, you attend at Bow Street; and if I don't 
show you the men, I shall be as much surprised as you have 
been to-night." 

The horse came up just then, having trotted on very com- 
posedly, with the gig at his heels : taking the patrol's advice, 
Grimaldi got in, ana haying promised to meet him next morn- 
ing, made the best of his way home, which he reached without 
further hindrance or interruption. 

Grimaldi found his wife, as he had expected, very much 
terrified at his being so late ; nor were her fears allayed by his 
wild demeanour and the appearance of the blow on his temple. 
To her hurried inquiries he gave the best answers that occurred 
to him, and being unwilling to give her any unnecessary alarm, 
merely remarked, that he had a fall from his gig, which had 
made him giddy and uncomfortable. The pains he afterwards 
took to keep the real truth from coming to her knowledge were 
infinite. Every newspaper that came into the house he care- 
fully searched, to ascertain that it contained no paragraph rela- 
tive to the robbery ; and so successful were his precautions, that 
she had not the least inkling of the circumstance until more 
than two years afterwards, upon their giving up the cottage at 


Finchley, and returning to town ; when her first exclamation 
was, " Oh, Joe, if I had only known this at the time, I never 
could have slept another night in Finchley !" 

This was exactly what Grimaldi had supposed, and he was 
not a little delighted to find that he had been enabled to remain 
during the whole of that tune in a place to which he was very 
much attached, and where, in the society of his wife and child, 
he had spent some of the happiest hours of his existence 

Grimaldi got very little sleep after the robbery, his thoughts 
turning all night upon the distressing consequences it seemed 
likely to involve. That Hamilton was one of the men, he felt 
pretty well sure : the voice and defect in the left hand were 
strong proofs against him. Added to this, there was other evi- 
dence, circumstantial, it is true, but still very weighty. It was 
plain, from the knowledge which one of the thieves possessed 
relative to the note, that he or some one connected with him 
had been at the tavern in the earlier part of the night, and had 
there closely watched his actions. The doubtful character of 
Archer, and his suspicious looks and manner, had struck him 
often ; the thieves had been waiting three nights, and for three 
nights Hamilton had been absent from his usual place of resort. 
The more he thought of these things, the more sure he felt that 
Hamilton was a highwayman : then came the reflection, that if, 
upon his evidence, he was sentenced to death, it would most 
probably involve the fate of his young wife, of whose meekness 
and gentleness he had seen so many tokens. He tossed and 
tumbled through the night, meditating upon these things over 
and over again ; he rose the following morning feverish and de- 
jected, trusting the thieves might escape rather than that he 
should be the means of bringing any of his fellow-creatures to a 
violent death, or dooming others to living and hopeless wretched- 

Pleading an early call to rehearsal as the reason for his going 
so early to town, he left Finchley immediately after breakfast s 
and drove to Bow-street, where he found the patrol already 
waiting. The moment he caught sight of the man and observed 
the air with which he approached to receive him, all the hopes 
which he had involuntarily nourished evaporated, and he felt 
terrified at the thought that a capital prosecution at the Old 
Bailey was certainly reserved for him. 

" Well, sir," said the man, as he helped him out of the gig, 
" it's all right. I have got three men, and I have no dxmbt they 
are the fellows." 

Grimaldi's distress was redoubled, and he inquired, tre Tabling, 
whether any of the stolen property had been fouii i upon 

The man replied, with evident chagrin, he had not succeeded 
so far, and therefore supposed they had got rid of the booty 
before he found them ; but if they were sworn to, they would be 


Committed at once ; and that when it was known among their 
companions, he had little doubt but that he should be able to 
trace out some evidence relative to the note. With this brief 
preparation, he led Grimaldi at once into the presence of the 
magistrate, to whom he recounted the particulars of the robbery, 
hinting that as he had not been personally injured by the 
thieves, he had no wish to prosecute if it could be avoided ; an 
intimation to which the patrol listened in high dudgeon, and 
which the magistrate appeared to regard with some doubt, 
merely observing that the circumstance^ might possibly be taken 
into consideration with a view to the mitigation of punishment, 
but could not be urged or recognised at all, in that stage of the 

The patrol was then examined, and, after stating in effect 
what he had stated to Grimaldi on the previous night, deposed 
that he had taken the prisoners into custody at a place which he 
named. The magistrate inquired whether any of the stolen 
property had been found upon them or traced, whether any 
such disguises as Mr. Grrimaldi had described were discovered in 
their possession, and whether any suspicious implements, offen- 
sive or defensive, had been found upon them. To all these 
questions, the patrol answered in the negative, and the magis- 
trate then ordered that Grrimaldi should be taken to view the 
prisoners. He also inquired if Grimaldi thought he should reco- 
gnise them ; who replied that he had no doubt he should know 
one of the men. 

Grimaldi was taken into another room, and the first person he 
saw was, as he expected, George Hamilton himself: the other 
two prisoners were perfect strangers to him. They had described 
themselves to the magistrate as gentlemen ; but he might have 
exclaimed, with young Mirabel, " For gentlemen they have the 
most cut-throat appearance I ever saw." 

Hamilton behaved himself with great coolness and self- 
possession; he advanced without the least appearance of agi- 
tation, and said, 

" How do you do, Mr. Grimaldi ? It is an odd circumstance, 
is it not, that I should be charged with robbing an old friend 
like you ? But strange coincidences happen to all of us." 

Composed as the man's manner was, it' Grimaldi had entered 
the room with any doubt of his guilt, it was at once and entirely 
dispelled. The practised eye of an old actor was not so easily 
deceived. He had evidently made a desperate effort to assume 
an easy confidence of manner, knowing that upon the success 
with which he did so, depended his only chance of escape from 
the gallows. 

" Why, what's this !" said the gaoler, or turnkey, or whoever 
had accompanied them to the room. " Do you know him, sir ?" 

"Yes," said Grimaldi, looking hard at Hamilton, "I know 
nim very well." 


" "Well, then, sir, of course you can tell, whether he is one of 
the men who robbed you ;" 

The pause which ensued was of not more than two or three 
seconds' duration, but it was a trying one to two of the parties 

E resent. Hamilton looked as if he awaited the reply without 
jar, and acted the innocent man boldly. The turnkey and 
constable turned away for an instant to speak to each other ; 
and as they did so, Grimaldi held up his left hand, turning 
down two of the fingers in imitation of Hamilton's, and shook 
his head gravely. The man instantly understood his meaning, 
and saw that he was known. All his assumed fortitude forsook 
him ; his face became ashy pale, and his whole frame trembled 
with inward agitation. It appeared as if he would have fallen 
on the floor, but he rallied a little ; and after bestowing a look 
of intense supplication upon Grimaldi, laid his linger on his lip, 
and fixed his eyes on the ground. 

" Well, sir," said the patrol, " there they are ; can you 
swear to them all, or to any of them r" 

A thousand thoughts crowded through Grimaldi's brain, but 
one was uppermost the desire to save this young man, whom 
he strongly suspected to be but a beginner in crime. Alter a 
moment's pause, he replied, that he could not swear to any one 
of them. 

" Then," said the turnkey to the patrol, with a meaning look, 
" either you have gone upon a wrong scent altogether, or these 
chaps have had a very narrow escape." 

After informing the magistrate that it was not in his power to 
identify the prisoners, Grimaldi hurried away. The men were 
discharged in the course of the afternoon, and thus terminated 
the interview at the police-office. 

A day or two afterwards, Hamilton called at Grimaldi's house, 
and, in a conversation with him, humbly acknowledged that he 
was one of the men who had robbed him ; that he had been 
incited to the act, partly by an anxiety to acquire money faster 
than he could make it in trade, and partly by the persuasions of 
his friend Archer ; but that it was his first attempt at crime, and 
should be his last. He thanked his benefactor in the warmest 
and most grateful manner for his clemency ; and Grimaldi then 
acquainted him with the designs of Archer upon his wife, 
severely reprobating the vicious habits which had led him to 
abandon one by whose means he might have been rendered 
happy and respectable, and saved from his guilty career, and 
leaving her exposed to the insults of men inured to every 
species of yillany and crime. Hamilton assured him that 
neither his information nor his advice was ill bestowed, and 
alter a long interview they parted, he pouring forth his thanks 
and promises of reformation, and Grimaldi repeating his for- 
giveness and his admonitions. 

Grimaldi had reason to hope that Hamilton kept his promise, 


and shrunk from his old associates, for he resided nearly twenty 
years after that period in Clerkenwell, carrying on a good 
business, and bearing the reputation of an honest man. 

At this time Grimaldi was in the habit of taking three bene- 
fits every year ; that is to say, two at Sadler's Wells, and 
one at Covent Garden. Begularly on the morning of each of 
these occasions, for very many years, _some person called at his 
house for ten box-tickets, always paying for them at the time, 
in exactly the amount required, and leaving the house imme- 
diately, as if anxious to avoid notice. He was in the constant 
habit of receiving anonymous remittances for tickets, and there- 
fore did not attach much importance to this circumstance, 
although it struck him as being singular in one respect, inas- 
much as the greater part of his friends who took tickets for his 
Sadler's Wells benefits, did not take them on his Covent Garden 
nights, and vice versa. The family became at last so used to it, 
that when they were sorting tickets on the night before one of 
his benefits, his wife would regularly say, " Don't forget to put 
ten on the mantelpiece for the gentleman who calls early in the 
morning." This continued for perhaps twelve years or more, 
when one day, as his servant was giving him the money, paid 
as usual by the unknown person for his admissions, he casually 
inquired of the girl what kind of person in appearance this 
gentleman was. 

" Oh, I really don't know, sir," she replied ; " there is nothing 
particular about him, except " 

"Well, except what?" 

"Except, sir, that he has only got two fingers on his left 

The mystery was explained. 

The fate of this man was truly pitiable. A neighbour's house 
having taken fire, and being in imminent hazard of destruction, 
Hamilton rushed in with several others to save some children 
who were in danger of perishing in the flames. He darted up 
stairs through the smoke and reached the second story. The 
instant he set his feet upon it, the whole flooring gave way, and 
sank with him into the mass of glowing fire below, from which 
his body, burnt to a cinder, was dug out some days afterwards. 




1809 to 1812. 

Opening of the new Covent Garden Theatre The Great O. P. Kows Grimaldi'i 
first appearance as Clown in the public streets Temporary Embarrassments 
Great success at Cheltenham and Gloucester He visits Berkeley Castle 
and is introduced to Lord Byron Fish Sauce and Apple Pie. 

ON the 18th. of September in this year, the new theatre in 
Covent Garden opened with Shakspeare's tragedy of Macbeth 
and the musical afterpiece of The Quaker, with the following 

casts : 


Duncan, King of Scotland 



Macbeth . 




Lady Macbeth 







Mr. Chapman. 

Mr. Claremont. 

Mr. Menage. 

Mr. John Kemble. 

Mr. Murray. 

Miss Bristow. 

Mr. Cresswell. 

Mr. Brunton. 

Messrs. Blanchard, Farley 

and Simmons. 
Mrs. Siddons. 

Mr. Incledon. 
Mr. Taylor. 
Mr. Liston. 
Miss Bplton. 
Mrs. Liston. 

It was at this period that the great 0. P. Row began, of which 
so much has been said, and sung, and written, that little of 
novelty or interest could accompany the description of it here. 
Everybody knows that the 0. P. Row originated in the indigna- 
tion with which the play-going public regarded an increase in 
the prices of admission of one shilling each person to the boxes, 
and sixpence to the pit, with which was coupled a considerable 
increase in the number of private boxes ; and everybody knows, 
moreover, that the before-mentioned play-going public expressed 
their dissatisfaction night after night in scenes of the most ex- 
traordinary and unparalelled nature. The noises made by the 
audience utterly overwhelmed every attempt that the actors 
could make to render themselves audible. Not a word that was 
said on the stage could be distinguished even in the front row 


of the pit, and the 0. P. (Old Price) rioters, fearful that the 
exercise of their voices would not create sufficient uproar, were 
in the habit of bringing the most extraordinary variety of curi- 
ous and ill-toned instruments with them, to add to the noise 
and discordance of the scene. One gentleman, who constantly 
seated himself in the boxes, regaled himself and the company 
with a watchman's rattle, which he sprang vigorously at short 
intervals throughout the performances ; another took his^ seat 
regularly every night in the centre of the pit, armed with a 
large dustman's bell, which he rang with a perseverance and 
strength of arm quite astounding to all beholders ; and a party 
of three or four pleasant fellows brought live pigs, which were 
pinched at the proper times, and added considerably to the 
effect of the performances. 

But rattles, bells, pigs, trumpets, French horns, sticks, um- 
brellas, catcalls, and bugles, were not the only vocal weapons 
used upon these occasions : Kemble was constantly called for, 
constantly came on, and constantly went off again without being 
able to obtain a hearing. Numbers of Bow- street officers were 
in regular attendance : whenever they endeavoured to seize the 
ringleaders, the ringleaders were defended by their partisans, 
and numerous fights (in one of which a man was nearly killed) 
resulted. Scarce an evening passed without flaming speeches 
being made from pit, boxes, and gallery; and sometimes naif- a- 
dozen speeches would be in course of delivery at the same time. 
The greater portion of the time of the magistrates was occupied 
in investigations connected with the disturbances, and this state 
of things continued for nearly seventy nights. Placards were 
exhibited in every part of the house, principally from the pit ; 
of the quality of wnich effusions the following may be taken as 
specimens : 

"Notice to the Public. This house and furniture to be sold, 
Messrs. John Kemble & Co. declining business." 

"Notice to the Public. The workhouse in Covent Garden 
has been repaired, and greatly enlarged for the use of the 

" Cause of Justice. John Bull versus John Kemble verdict 
for the plaintiff." 

A large coffin with the inscription, " Here lies the body of 
New Prices, who died of the whooping-cough, Sept. 23, 1809, 
aged six days." 

* The gentleman who made notes of Grimaldi's recollections subjoins a note 
to the effect, that the gentleman who rang the bell is a personal acquaintance of 
his, and that he has repeatedly heard him mention the circumstance, which he 

" , butjwhich he considered then 
was at that time in his 

looks back upon now as an act oi thoughtless folly, but wl 
as the performance of a sacred duty to the public. He 
nonage, studying (after a manner) tf 
of a newspaper published in Sussex. 

nonage, studying (after a manner) the law; he is now, and has loner >>*n, editor 
published :' " 


The instant the performances began, the audience, who had 
been previously sitting with their faces to the stage, as audi- 
ences generally do, wheeled round to a man, and turned their 
backs upon it. When they concluded, which, in consequence of 
the fearful uproar, was frequently as early as half-past nine 
o'clock, they united in singing a parody on "God save the King, : ' 
of which the first verse ran thus : 

" God save great Johnny Bull, 
Long live our noble Bull, 

God save John Bull ! 
Send him victorious, 
Loud and uproarious, 
With lungs like Boreas ; 

God save John Bull !" 

Then followed the O.P. dance and a variety of speeches, and 
then the rioters would quietly disperse. 

The opinions of the press being, as a matter of course, divided 
on every question, were necessarily divided upon this. The 
Times and Post supported the new system ; in consequence of 
which a placard was exhibited from the pit every evening for at 
least a week, with the inscription, 

" The Times and Post are bought and sold, 
By Kemble's pride and Kemble's gold." 

The Chronicle) on the other hand, took up the opposite side of 
the question, and supported the 0. P. rioters with great fervour 
and constancy. In its columns one of the most popular of the 
numerous squibs on the subject appeared, which is here inserted. 
It may be necessary to premise that " Jack," was John Kemble; 
that the " Cat" was Madame Catalani, then engaged at Covent 
Garden Theatre, and who was much opposed at that time, in 
consequence of her being a foreigner ; and that the " boxes" 
were the new private boxes, among the great objects of popular 


" This is the House that Jack built. 

" These are the boxes, let to the great, that visit the house 
that Jack built. 

" These are the pigeon-holes, over the boxes, let to the great, 
that visit the house that Jack built. 

" This is the Cat, engaged to squall, to the poor in the pigeon- 
holes, over the boxes, let to the great, that visit the house that 
Jack built. 


" This is John Bull, with a bugle-horn, that hissed the Cat, 
engaged to squall, to the poor in the pigeon-holes, over the 
boxes, let to the great, that visit the house that Jack built. 

" This is the thief-taker, shaven and shorn, 

That took up John Bull, with his bugle-horn, 
who hissed the Cat, engaged to squall, to the poor in the pigeon- 
holes, over the boxes, let to the great., that visit the house that 
Jack built. 

'* This is the manager, full of scorn, 

Who RAISED THE PRICES to the people forlorn, 

And directed the thief-taker, shaven and shorn, 

To take up John Bull, with his bugle-horn, 
who hissed the Cat, engaged to squall, to the poor in the pigeon- 
holes, over the boxes, let to the great, that visit the house that 
Jack built." 

When this had gone on for several nights, Kemble sent for 
Grimaldi, and said, that as the people would not hear dialogue 
they would try pantomime, which might perhaps suit their 
tastes better, and accordingly "Don Juan"* was put up for the 
next night, Grimaldi sustaining his old part of Scaramouch. 
He was received on his entrance with great applause, and it 
happened oddly enough that on that night there was little or no 
disturbance. This circumstance, which he naturally attributed 
in some degree to himself, pleased him amazingly, as indeed it 
did Kemble also, who, shaking him cordially by the hand when 
he came off, said, " Bravo, Joe ! we have got them now : we'll 
act this again to-morrow night." And so they did ; but it 
appeared that they had not " got them" either, for the uproar 
recommenced with, if possible, greater fury than before, all the 
performers agreeing that until that moment they had never 
heard such a mighty and indescribable din. 

Eventually, on the fifteenth of December,! the famous 0. P. 
row terminated, on the proprietors of the theatre lowering the 
charge of admission to the pit, removing the obnoxious pri- 
vate boxes, rescinding Madame Catalani's engagement, dis- 
charging Mr. James Brandon, house and box book-keeper, who 
had rendered himself greatly offensive to the 0. P. people, 
abandoning all prosecutions against those who had been 
required to answer for their misconduct at the sessions, and 

* The tragic pantomimic ballet of " Don Juan" was one of the pieces intended 
for representation, and for which new dresses and properties had to be pre- 
pared, without reference to the Old-Price Riots, and was played for the first 
time in the New Theatre on November 20; Scaramouch, by Mr. Grimaldi; 
Donna Anna, by Miss Bristow. The piece was performed several nights in 

t Kemble this night played Penruddock, in the " Wheel of Fortune ;" tii 
afterpiece, " The Blind Boy." 


offering- a public apology. The ungracious task of making it, 
fell upon Mr. Kemble, who delivered what it was deemed ne- 
cessary to say, with remarkable self-possession and dignity. It 
was received by the audience with great applause, and a placard 
was immediately hoisted in the pit, bearing the words, " We 
are satisfied ;" it was speedily followed by a similar announce- 
ment in the boxes ; and thus terminated* the famous 0. P. 
war, wholly unparalleled in dramatic or indeed in any other 

At Christmas, "Harlequin Pedlar, or the Haunted Well," 
was produced : it met with very great success, being played 
fifty-two nights. In March, 1810, Grimaldi first appeared as 
Skirmish in "The Deserter of Naples ;" and "Mother Goose" 
was again played. The theatre closed in July, and reopened in 
October, f Nothing particular new was done that season at 
Sadler's Wells. At Christmas, 1810, he appeared, as usual, in 
the Covent Garden pantomime, which was called " Harlequin 
Asmodeus, or Cupid on Crutches." It was acted for forty-six 
nights, and was played occasionally until May, 1811.J 

During this month he had to play Clown at both theatres, the 
pantomime being acted as the first piece at Sadler's Wells, and 
as the last piece at Covent Garden. Not having time to change 
his dress, and indeed having no reason for doing so if he had, in 
consequence of his playing the same character at both houses, he 
was accustomed to nave a coach in waiting, into which he threw 
himself the moment he had finished at Sadler's Wells, and was 
straightway carried to Covent Garden to begin again. 

One night it so happened that by some forgetfulness or mis- 
take on the part of the driver, the coach which usually came for 
him failed to make its appearance. It was a very wet night, 
and not having a moment to lose, he sent for another. After a 
considerable interval, during which he was in an agony of fear 
lest the Covent Garden stage should be kept waiting, the mes- 
senger returned in a breathless state with tne information that 

* It was resumed on the opening of the season of 1810-11 ; the private boxes 
remaining the same ; on September 18th the theatre closed ; the obnoxious 
boxes were rendered free to the public, and on the 24th, peace was finally 

t The " Deserter of Naples" was revived at Covent Garden on May 23, 1810, 
not in March ; nor in fact was this G-rimaldi's first appearance as Skirmish. He 
had in the last season, in the Old Theatre, played that part for Mr. Charles Taylor's 
benefit, June 3, 1808. After its revival in May, the " Deserter of Naples" was 
repeated a few nights during the remnant of that season. " Mother Goose" 
was again revived on June 12th. The theatre closed on July 6th, and re- 
opened for the season of 1810-11, on September 10th, not October, as here 

J Grimaldi in this pantomime introduced the happiest of his creations the 
vegetable pugilistic figure. On the night of his benefit at Covent Garden, June 
25th, Joe played Acres in the " Eivals," as the bills announced, "for this night 
only." " Harlequin and Asmodeus" followed, for the forty-sixth time. The 
eason terminated on July 24, 1811. 


there was not a coach to be got. There was only one desperate 
alternative, and that was to run through the streets. Knowing 
that his appearance at Coyent Garden must by this time be ne- 
cessary, he made up his mind to do it, and started off at once. 

The night being very dark, he got on pretty well at first ; but 
when he came into the streets 01 Clerkenwell, where the lights 
of the shops showed him in his Clown's dress running along at 
full speed, people began to grow rather astonished. First, a few 
people turned round to look after him, and then a few more, and 
so on until there were a great many, and at last, one man who 
met him at a street corner, recognising the favourite, gave a 
loud shout of, "Here's Joe Grimaldi !" 

This was enough. Off set Grimaldi faster than ever, and on 
came the mob, shouting, huzzaing, screaming out his name, 
throwing up their caps and ^hats, and exhibiting every mani- 
festation of delight. He ran into Holborn with several hundred 
people at his heels, and being lucky enough to find a coach 
there, jumped in. But this only increased the pressure of the 
crowd, who followed the vehicle with great speed and perseve- 
rance ; when, suddenly poking his head out of the window, he 
gave one of his famous and well-known laughs. Upon this the 
crowd raised many roars of laughter and applause, and hastily 
agreed, as with one accord, that they would see him safe and 
sound to Covent Garden. So, the coach went on surrounded by 
the dirtiest body-guard that was ever beheld, not one of whom, 
deserted his post, until Grimaldi had been safely deposited at 
the stage-door ; when, after raising a vociferous cheer, such of 
them as had money rushed round to the gallery-doors, and 
making their appearance in the front just as he came on the 
stage, set up a boisterous shout of, "Here he is again!" and 
cheered him enthusiastically, to the infinite amusement of every 
person in the theatre who had got wind of the story. 

In the season of 1811, "The Great Devil" was revived at 
Sadler's "Wells :* he played a part in it in which he was highly 
successful and applauded to the very echo. In July, he injured 
his chest severely by falling upon a tight-rope,' and was obliged 
for several weeks to give up all his %eatrical engagements. He 

* Sadler's Wells opened on Easter Monday, April 15, 1811, with "Dulce 
Doraum ;" Clown, Mr. Grimaldi, with two new songs, " A Peep at Turkey," 
and "Massena's Retreat." " Harlequin and Blue Be*rd" followed on July 15, 
in which Joe, in the character of Clown, sang " Mr. Greig and Mrs. Snap ; or, 
Bubble, Squeak, and Pettitoes." The season extended till October. At Covent 
Garden, September 30th, " Raymond and Agnes" was revived, and the parts of 
Jaques and Robert, sons of Baptiste the robber, were played by Grimaldi and 
Cardoza; and on boring-night, December 26th, the new pantomime called 
" Harlequin and Padmanaba; or, The Golden Pish," in which Grimaldi played 
Cayfacat Adhri, the Persian cook, afterwards Clown. This entertainment was 
highly attractive : several embossed prints were published of Joe's drolly trans- 
formed vehicle, drawn by a pair of dogs, to ridicule the superb curricle of a 
West Indian gentleman better known aa Mr. Ronceo Coates. 


reappeared at Covent Garden in October following,* playing in 
" Asmodeus," "Mother Goose," "Valentine and Orson," and 
" Eaymond and Agnes ;" in the latter piece he supported, for 
the first time, the part of Robert. On the 26th of December the 
new pantomime appeared ; it was called "Harlequin and Pad- 
manaba, or the Golden Fish," and went off very well. 

One of his earlier appearances in the regular drama occurred 
in the following June (1812),f when, for his own benefit, he 
played Acres in " The Bivals." The house was a very good one, 
and he cleared upwards of two hundred pounds by it. 

This year was rendered remarkable to him by some temporary 
embarrassments into which he was plunged, partly, he says, by 
the great expense consequent upon keeping a country as well as 
a town house, and partly by the great extravagance of his wife, 
who, although an excellent woman, had, like everybody else, 
some fault ; Tiers was a love of dress which almost amounted to 
a mania. Finding that retrenchment must be the order of the 
day, he gave up his house at Finchley, discharged his groom, 
sold his horse and gig, and placed his affairs in the hands of Mr. 
Harmer, the solicitor, to whom circumstances had so oddly in- 
troduced him a few years before. Seven or eight months served 
to bring affairs into the right train again ; by the end of tha.t 
time every one of his creditors had been paid to the last penny 
of their demands. 

In 1812, there was nothing particularly worthy of notice at 
Sadler's Wells. His second benefit, which took place in October, 
was a great one, the receipts being two hundred and twenty-five 
pounds. It was supposed the theatre would not hold more than 
two hundred pounds, but no benefit of his ever brought him less 
than two hundred and ten; and indeed one, which we shall 
presently have occasion to mention, produced nearly two hun- 
dred and seventy pounds whether those who contributed this 
sum were all in the theatre at one period or not, we cannot of 
course pretend to say. 

In the latter end of this month, he entered into an engage- 
ment to perform for two nights with Mr. Watson of the Chelten- 
ham theatre, who arranged to give him a clear half of whatever 
the receipts might be. Previously to leaving town, he consulted 
with Mr. Hughes about this speculation, who told him that 
Cheltenham was a bad theatrical town, on account of its having 

* Covent Garden commenced the season of 1811-12, in September, not October. 
Joe, on September llth, played Kanko, in " La Perouse ;" on the 16th, Clown in 
" Harlequin and Asmodeus ;" on the 26th, Orson ; and on the 30th of the same 
month, in "Kaymond and Agnes." Norman played Joe's part of Baptiste the 
robber; Grimaldi and Cardoza for the first time represented his sons Jaques 
and Eobert, by which a change productive of greater scenic power was effected. 

t Grimaldi played Acres at Covent Garden theatre, June 25, 1811. On the 
night of his benefit, June 24, 1812, " Cato" was performed, followed by the 
pantomime of " Harlequin Padmanaba," for the forty-ninth or fiftieth repre- 
sentation that season. 


many other amusements ; but still he fancied he might clear his 
expenses, and perhaps forty or fifty pounds besides. ^ At the ap- 
pointed time he left London, having received a species of half- 
notice from Mr. Harris, that^he would not be wanted at Covent 
Garden : and on the next night, played Scaramouch and sang 
Tippitywitchit with great eclat at Cheltenham. The following 
evening he played Clown in a little pantomime of his own con- 

The house was full on each occasion, the performances gave 
perfect satisfaction, and he was induced by the manager to stay 
in that part of the country two days longer, and to go to 
Gloucester, nine miles off", at which place he likewise had a 
theatre. Thither _ they started early on the following morning, 
played the same pieces as at Cheltenham, and met with an equal 
degree ot success. 

After the performances were over, Mr. Watson and he supped 
together ; and when the cloth was removed, the former said, 

" Now, Joe, I can only allow you to take one glass of punch, 
time is so very precious." 

" I do not understand you," replied Grimaldi. 
" Why, what I mean is, that it is now twelve o'clock, and 
time to go to bed," he answered. 

" Oh ! with all my heart," said Grimaldi. " But this is some- 
thing new, I suspect, with you. Last night, I remember, it was 
three hours later than this, before you suffered me to retire; 
and the night previous it was later even than that." 

"Ay, ay," replied Watson; "but to-night we had perhaps 
better get to bed soon, as to-morrow I want you to go out rather 
early with me." 

"What do you call rather early?" inquired Grimaldi. 
" Why, let me see, we must start before three," answered the 

"Indeed!" said Grimaldi; "then I shall wish you good- 
night at once ;" and so saying, without any loss of time, he 
went to his chamber. After they had stepped into a chaise 
next day, he found that their destination was Berkeley Castle, 
to which its host had sent them a special invitation, and that 
their morning's amusement was to consist of coursing. 

He had the honour of an acquaintance with Colonel Berkeley, 
(now Lord Segrave,) at whose table he was occasionally in the 
habit of dining, and upon their arrival at the castle was most 
hospitably received. The castle was full of company. Several 
noblemen were there, as well as distinguished commoners: 
among the former was Lord Byron, whom he had frequently 
seen, and who always patronized his benefits at Covent Garden, 
but with whom he had never conversed. Colonel Berkeley intro- 
duced him to such of the company as he was unacquainted with, 
and, in common with the rest, to Lord Byron, who instantly 
advanced towards him, and, making several low bows, expressed 

v 2 


in very hyperbolical terms his " great and unbounded satisfao* 
tion in becoming acquainted with a man of such rare and pro- 
found talents," &c. &c. 

Perceiving that his lordship was disposed to be facetious at 
his expense, Grimaldi felt half inclined to reply in a similar 
strain ; but, reflecting that he might give offence by doing so. 
abstained resolving, however, not to go entirely unrevenged 
for the joke which he was evidently playing him : he returned 
all the bows and congees threefold, and as soon as the ceremo- 
nious introduction was over, made a face at Colonel Berkeley, 
expressive of mingled gratification and suspicion, which threw 
those around into a roar of laughter ; while Byron, who did not 
see^it, looked round for the cause of the merriment in a manner 
which redoubled it at once. 

" Grimaldi," said the Colonel, " after breakfast, at which 
meal we expect your company and that of Mr. Watson, you 
shall have a course with the greyhounds yonder; then you 
must return and dine with us. ^ We will have dinner early, so 
that you can reach the theatre in time to perform." 

To this, he had no further reply to make, than to express his 
gratitude for such consideration and kindness. After they had 
taken a plentiful meal, they went out with the dogs, and had 
some famous sport. Hares were so plentiful that they started 
twenty- seven in one field ; and the day being fine, and the 
novelty great, Grimaldi was highly delighted with the pro- 

Upon their return to the castle, they found most of the party 
with whom they had breakfasted assembled together, and 
shortly afterwards they sat down to dinner. Lord Byron sat 
on Grimaldi' s left, and a young nobleman whom he knew very 
well, from his being constantly behind the scenes at Covent 
Garden, but whose name he could not recollect, on his right. 

" Grimaldi," whispered this young nobleman, just as dinner 
commenced, " did you ever meet Byron before ?" 

"Never, my lord," answered Grimaldi: "that is, never to 
converse with him." 

" Tnen, of course, you have not met him at a dinner-party ?" 

" Never, my lord." 

" Well, then," continued the young gentleman, who, as any- 
body but Grimaldi would have seen, was playing on his simpli- 
city in conjunction with Lord Byron, " I will tell you why I 
asked these questions : I was anxious, if you should chance not 
to know his lordship's peculiarities, to point out to you one 
trifling but still distinguishing one, to which if you happen to 
oppose yourself, he will infallibly take a dislike to you ; and I 
need not assure you that it is always best for a public character 
to be on good terms rather than bad with such men." 

Grimaldi bowed his thanks, and really did feel very grateful. 

" What I allude to is simply this," added his noble friend : 


" Byron is very courteous at the dinner-table, but does not like 
to have his courtesy thrown away, or slighted ; I would recom- 
mend you, if he asks you to take anything-, as he is almost 
sure to do, no matter whether it be to eat or drink, not to 

" I am very much obliged to you, my lord," was Grimaldi's 
reply : " in fact, I look upon your kindness as a great per- 
sonal favour, and I shall carefully act upon your recommen- 

And so he did, and so indeed he had plenty of opportunities 
of doing; for Lord Byron asked him to partake 01 so many 
things, none of which he liked to decline, that at last he was 
quite gorged, and was almost fearful that if it lasted much 
longer, he should be unable to perform that night at Gloucester. 

Towards the end of the repast his lordship invited him to 
eat a little apple-tart, which he thought he could manage, 
the more especially as he was very fond of it ; he therefore 
acquiesced, with many thanks ; and the tart being placed 
beiore him, commenced operations. Byron looked at him for 
a moment, and then said, with much seeming surprise 

** Why, Mr. Grimaldi, do you not take soy with your tart ?" 

"Soy, my lord?" 

" Yes, soy: it is very good with salmon, and therefore it must 
be nice with apple-pie." 

Poor Grimaldi did not see the analogy, and was upon the 
point of saying so ; but his friend on his right touched his 
elbow, when recollecting what he had previously communi- 
cated, he bowed assent to Byron's proposal, and proceeded to 
pour some of the fish-sauce over the tart. After one or two 
vain attempts to swallow a mouthful of the vile mess, he 
addressed Lord Byron with considerable formality, begging him 
to observe, "that no one could do more justice than himself to 
his kindness, but that he really trusted he would forgive his 
declining to eat the mixture he had recommended ; as, however 
much the confession might savour of bad taste, he really did 
not relish soy with apple-tart." 

He was much relieved by Byron's taking the apology in very 

good part, and by the rest of the company laughing most 
eartily at what, he says, he cannot possibly tell, unless it 
had been determined to put a joke upon him. We should 
imagine that it had been ; but, in any case, should be strongly 
disposed to say, that a great deal more of innate politeness 
was displayed on the side of simplicity than on that of 

Shortly afterwards they took their leave and returned to 
Gloucester, where they found the theatre crowded as before. 
The performances went off as well as possible ; and after all was 
over, Watson presented him with one hundred and ninety-five 
pounds as his share. 


At seven o'clock next morning he was on his road to London, 
where he arrived that night. 

Early on the following morning, he waited upon his friend, 
Mr. Hughes ; and having reminded him that " Cheltenham was 
a very bad theatrical town, on account of its spas and other 
amusements, but that still it was possible forty or fifty pounds 
might be made there," triumphantly exhibited his one hundred 
and ninety-four pounds. 

In the evening he called at Covent Garden, and saw Mr. H. 
Harris, who informed him that Mr. Dimond, of the Bath and 
Bristol theatres, wished to engage him for five weeks that his 
terms were twenty-five pounds per week, with half a clear 
benefit at each of the places named ; and that if he liked to go, 
he was at perfect liberty to do so, the proprietors of Covent 
Garden not needing his services until Christmas. His salary 
was to be paid, however, just as though he were per- 

Of this liberality he gladly availed himself; and after ex- 
pressing his gratitude, wrote to Dimond, accepting tbe proposal. 
A week after he had returned from Gloucester, he left town 
for Bath. 



1812 to 1816. 

A Clergyman's Dinner-party at Bath. First Appearance of Grimaldi's Son, and 
Death of his old Friend, Mr. Hughes Grimaldi plays at three Theatres 
on one night, and has his Salary stopped for his pains His severe illness 
Second journey to Bath Davidge, " Billy Coombes," and the Chest Face- 
tiousness of the aforesaid Billy. 

Two days after his arrival in Path he appeared at the theatre, 
where he was fortunate enough x,o elicit the warmest applause 
and approbation from a crowded audience; nor was he less 
successful at Bristol, the theatre being completely filled every 
night he performed. He remained in this part of the country 
during five weeks, playing four_ nights in every week at Bath, 
and the remaining two at Bristol. By this trip he realized 
2S7L1251. for salary, ^ and 162Z. for benefits; but although it 
was a lucrative expedition, it was by no means a pleasant one, 
the weather being exceedingly inclement, and he being com- 
pelled to return to Bath every evening after the performances 
at Bristol were over. The nightly rides at that season of the 
year were by no means agreeable ; he suffered very much from 
colds, and, upon the whole, was very far from sorry when his 
engagement terminated. 

During his stay; at Bath a little incident happened, deve- 
loping, in a striking point of view, a very repulsive trait of 
discourtesy and bad breeding in a quarter where, least of any, 
such an exhibition might have been looked for. 

Higman, the bass-singer, who was then in great repute, and 
was afterwards the original Gabriel, in Guy Mannering, but is 
since dead, was invited with Grimaldi to ctine with a reverend 
gentleman of that city. They accepted the invitation, and upon 
their arrival found a pretty large party of gentlemen assembled, 
the clerical host of course presiding. The very instant the cloth 
was removed, this gentleman commanded, rather than asked, 
Higman to sing a song. Not wishing to appear desirous of 
enhancing the merit of the song by frivolous objections, he at 
once consented, although he had scarcely swallowed his meal. 
It was deservedly very much applauded and complimented, and 
the moment ^the applause had ceased, the reverend doctor 
turned to Grimaldi, and in the same peremptory manner re- 
quested a song from him. He begged leave to decline for the 
present, urging what was indeed the truth that he had 


scarcely swallowed his dinner. The observation made by the 
host in reply rather astonished him. 

"What, *Mr. Grimaldi !" he exclaimed, hastily, " not sing, 
gir ! Why, I asked you here, sir, to-day expressly to sing." 

" Indeed, sir !" said Grimaldi, rising from the table : " then 
I heartily wish you had said so when you gave me the invi- 
tation ; in which case you would have saved me the inconve- 
nience of coming here to-day, and prevented my wishing you, 
as I now beg to do, a very unceremonious good-night." 

With these words he left the apartment, and very soon after- 
wards the house. 

It may appear to a great many persons a remarkable circum- 
stance that a pantomime Clown should have been called upon 
to read a lesson of politeness and common decency to a reverend 
divine. The circumstance, however, happened literally as it is 
here narrated. A somewhat similar story has been told of 
another well-known actor ; but this rudeness, whether it arose 
in ignorance or intention, was offered to Grimaldi by the reve- 
rend gentleman in question, whose name he well remembered, 
but which we abstain from mentioning. 

The Christmas pantomime at Covent Garden was entitled 
"Harlequin and the Red Dwarf, or the Adamant Hock:" it 
was entirely successful.* On Easter Monday, 1813, the melo- 
drama of "Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp," written by Mr. 
Farley, was acted for the first time, Grimaldi playing the 
character of Kasrac, a dumb slave, which became one of his 
most popular characters. f The Sadler's W r ells season merits 

* The pantomime of " Harlequin and the Bed Dwarf," notwithstanding the 
scenery was superb, and the changes and machinery entitled to great praise, 
was in no way so successful as several of the former similar productions brought 
out at Covent Garden ; and yet the burlesques introduced by Joe were suffi- 
ciently droll to prompt several highly coloured prints of certain characters in 
the print-shops of that day. The scenes in which the Epping Hunt was repre- 
sented, supplied one of the finest landscapes ever displayed in any theatre. 
Horses were introduced a jolly fat Parson, Pantaloon, and the Clown, took 
part in the joys of the chase ; Pantaloon on a little Shetland pony was followed 
by Grimaldi on a great cart-horse, aping the mammoth wonder for size ; Joe 
with a long wagoner's whip in his hand, and a jockey-cap, the peak of prodigious 
extent, seemed as anxious to be in at the death as if nothing in the world was 
comparable to it ; his eagerness created a doubt whether Barnes and his minia- 
ture horse would or would not be galloped over by Joe and his Bucephalus 
or be trundled over, horse and man, for the popular diversion. 

On February 8th, 1813, the comic burletta of " Poor Vulcan" was revived at 
Covent Garden the bills stated, " not acted for many years." In this piece 
there was a pastoral ballet at Mount Ida, in which the characters were thus 
sustained: Silenus, Mr. Bologna; Bacchanals, Mr. Bologna, jun., and M. 
Montignani ; Pan, Mr. Grimaldi ; and Bacchante, Mrs. Parker. Joe's attach- 
ment to his old part of Pan in " Terpsichore's Beturn," was here again renewed ; 
it was performed a sixth time on the 16th of the same month. 

tThe gorgeous spectacle of "Aladdin" was, after Douglas by Master Betty, 
performed for the first time on April 19th. " Aladdin" was represented by Mrs. 
C. Kemble ; Abafiazar, the Magician, by Mr. Farley; and Kasrac, his Chinese 
Slave, by Mr. Grimaldi : it was highly attractive, and was performed for the 
thirty-fourth time on June 21. Grimaldi's benefit this year was on July 1st, 


no further notice than that, as usual, it was very profitable, and 
that Grrimaldi produced a dance, called " Pun and Physic," 
which was performed every night. 

Coyent Garden re-opened in September ; and this year he 
was in constant requisition before Christmas, as well as after, 
Aladdin being found an extremely profitable piece. " Harle- 
quin and the Swans, or the Bath of Beauty," was produced at 
Christmas,* and followed at Easter by " Sadak and Jalasrade," 
in which Grrimaldi played Hassan. 

when were performed " Five miles off;" " Love, Law, and Physic," and for the 
forty-second time, " Harlequin and the Eed Dwarf." At the close of this 
season, by permission of the proprietors of Drury Lane Theatre, Sheridan' 
" Kobinson Crusoe and his Man Friday" was produced at Covent Garden ; the 
Shipwrecked Mariner, by Mr. Grimaldi; his Man Friday, by Mr. Bologna, jun. 
It was repeated a few times, and the season terminated on July 15th. 

Joe's popularity at this period is thus happily celebrated by the late Jamea 
Smith, in the following 


Facetious mime ! thou enemy of gloom ; 

Grandson of Momus, blithe and debonair, 
"Who aping Pan, with an inverted broom 

Canst brush the cobwebs from the brows of care. 

Our gallery gods immortalize thy songs, 
Thy Newgate thefts impart ecstatic pleasure ; 

Thou bidd'st a Jew's harp charm a Christian throng, 
A Gothic salt-box teem with Attic treasure. 

When Harlequin, his charmer to regain, 
Courts her embrace in many a queer disguise, 

The light of heels looks for his sword in vain 
Thy furtive fingers snatch the magic prize. 

The fabled egg from thee obtains its gold : 
Thou sett'st the mind from critic bondage loose, 

Where male and female cacklers, young and old, 
Birds of a feather, hail the sacred goose. 

ren pious souls, from Bunyan's durance free, 
At Sadler's Wells applaud thy agile wit, 
Forget old care, while they remember thee 
Laugh the heart's laugh, and haunt the jovial pit. 

Long mayst thou guard the prize thy humour won ; 

Long hold thy court in Pantomimic State ; 
And to the equipoise of English fun, 

Exalt the lowly and bring down the great. 

' Harlequin and the Swans," produced at Covent Garden on December 27, 
1813, presented two Harlequins, Bologna, jun., and Ellar, who then made hia 
first appearance at that theatre. Grimaldi played in the prelude, "Doctor 
Tumble Tuzzy," Chief Physician to the Court, when, if laughter be physic to 
the megrims, he and his assistant medical gentleman flung it about in no 
small potions. 

The Grand Asiatic Spectacle of " Sadak and Kalasrade" was produced at 


Having- now none of those amusements which in former years 
had served to employ his idle hours having lost his flies, given 
up his pigeons, removed from Einchley, sold his house, and 
resigned his garden, he devoted the whole of his leisure time to 
the society and improvement of his son. As he could not bear 
to part with him, and was wholly unable to make up his mind to 
send him to any great boarding- school, he was partly educated 
at the same school at which his father had been a pupil, and 
partly by masters who attended nim ^at home. The father 
appears to have bestowed great and praiseworthy care upon his 
education. Although at this time he was only twelve years old, 
he had not only quite mastered the common rudiments of learn- 
ing, but had become well acquainted with Trench literature, and 
wrote the language with ease and propriety. He had at a very 
early age manifested a great fondness for music, especially the 
violin, and had acquired great proficiency on that instrument, 
under the tuition of one of the first masters in the country. 

As he was a very clever boy, was an excellent dancer, and 
displayed a great fondness and aptitude for the stage, his father 
finding that his inclinations lay irrevocably that way, deter- 
mined to encourage them, and accordingly proceeded to instruct 
him in melodrama and pantomime. He fancied that in his old 
age, when his own heyday of fame and profit was over, he should 
gather new life from the boy^'s success, and that old times would 
be called up vividly before him when he witnessed his popularity 
in characters which had first brought his father before the public, 
and enabled him gradually, after the loss of _his property,^ to 
acquire an independent and respectable station in society. The 
wish was a natural one, and the old man cherished it dearly for 
many years. It was decreed otherwise ; and although in his 
better days the blight of this hope caused him great grief and 
misery, he endeavoured to bear it with humility and resigna- 

On the 26th of April* he resumed his labours at Sadler's Wells. 
He acted in a t drama called the "Slave Pirate," which was 
successful. His first benefit brought him 21 6/., and his second 
263?. 10^.; the last-named being the best he ever had at that 

the same Theatre on Easter Monday, April 11, 1814; Sadat, by Mr. Abbott; 
Hassan, his Slave, by Mr. Grimaldi; Agra, Principal Dancer, by Mr. Ellar ; 
Kalasrade, by Mrs. H, Johnston. On the same night, Sadler's Wells commenced 
the season of 1814, with Joe's Cojnic Dance_of "Fun and^ Physic," and the 
Pantomime of " K:~ 
appearance there 
with a new song, c 

Wiggins." As these pieces were frequently performed on the same evening at 
the two theatres, it was a regular run for both from the Wells to Covent Garden. 
* Sadler's Wells opened April llth, not the 26th. The Aqua-Drama of 
"Kaloc; or, The Pirate Slave," Kaloc, by Mr. Grimaldi, performed in the 
previous season, for the first time, August 9th, 1813, wa not played during that 
of 18 14. 


The great attraction of this benefit of 1814 * was the first 
appearance on any stage, of his son, who performed "Friday" in 
" Kobinson Crusoe," Grimaldi playing the latter part himself, 
and thus introducing his son to the public in the same piece in 
which his father had brought him forward thirty-three years 
before. For six weeks previous to the debut, the pains he had 
taken to render him master of the character, and the drillings he 
gave him were innumerable, although they rather arose from the 
nervousness of the father than from any lack of intelligence on the 
part of the son, who not only rapidly acquired the instructions 
communicated to him, but in many instances improved upon 
them considerably. His intended appearance was kept a pro- 
found secret until within a week of the night on which he was 
to perform ; and when the announcement was at length made, 
the demand for tickets and places was immense. The result was, 
that the benefit not only turned out, as has already been men- 
tioned, the best Grimaldi ever had, but the reception of the son 
was enthusiastic, and his exertions were both applauded by the 
public and commended in the newspapers. It may appear a 
mere matter of course to say that the father considered the 
performance the best that he had ever seen ; but long after- 
wards, when the boy was dead, and censure or praise was alike 
powerless to assist or harm him, Grimaldi expressed, in the 
same strong terms, his high opinion of his abilities, and his con- 
viction that had he been only moderate and temperate in^ the 
commonest degree, he must in a few years have equalled, if not 
greatly excelled, anything which he himself had achieved in 
his very best days. 

On the 20th of December following, he sustained a severe loss 
in the death of his constant and sincere friend, Mr. Eichard 
Hughes, who had been his well-wisher and adviser from infancy, 
and whose relationship to his first wife gave him a strong and 
lasting claim on his regard. As another instance of the severe 
and mental trials which an actor has to undergo, it may be 
mentioned that during the time his friend was lying dead, he 
was engaged for many hours each day in rehearsing broadly 
humorous pantomime, and that, as if to render the contrast 
more striking, the burial being fixed for the 26th of the month, 
he was compelled to rehearse part of hia Clown's character on 
the stage, to run to the funeral, to get back from the church- 
yard to the theatre to finish the rehearsal, and to exert all Ms 
comid powers at night to set the audience in a roar. 

This pantomime was founded upon the story of Whittington 

* Bologna, jun., and Grimaldi, had jointly their benefit at Covent Garden on 
June 29tii, 1814 : when were performed O'Keeffe's " Our Way in France ;" Lord 
Winlove, by Mr. Incledon; the Melo-Dramatic Piece, "For England Ho!" and 
for the fourth time these five years, " Harlequin and Mother Goose ;" with the 
favourite scene of the Dog-Cart ; and the " Oyster Duet," with the " Dissection 
f Harlequin." 


and his Cat, and had a very extended run. On the night of its 
production, his spirits were so affected by the calamity he had 
sustained, that it was with great difficulty he could go through 
his part, in which he had very nearly failed. He succeeded by 
a strong effort in finishing the piece ; and although his health 
paid very dearly for this and other efforts of the same nature, 
the constant bustle and excitement of his professional duties 
aided in recovering him, and enabling him to act with his 
accustomed vivacity. 

The harlequinade of "The Talking Bird "was produced at 
Sadler's Wells this season, in which he first enacted the Bird 
and afterwards the Clown. During the run of this pantomime 
he performed the remarkable feat of playing three very heavy 
parts (two of them Clowns) at three different theatres on the 
same night. He was intimately acquainted with a Mr. Hay- 
ward, who, being married to a clever actress at the Surrey, one 
Miss Dely, begged him as a great favour to act for her at that 
theatre on her benefit night. He asked and obtained permission 
from the proprietors of Sadler's Wells, but could not do the 
same at Covent Garden, as Mr. Harris was absent from town. 
He did not think it a point of any great importance, however, 
inasmuch as he had not been called upon to act for some time, 
and nothing was then announced in which it was at all likely 
he would be wanted. Unfortunately, on the very night of the 
benefit, '* La Perouse," in which he acted, was advertised at 
Covent Garden. In this dilemma, he hurried over the water, 
explained the circumstance, and pointed out the impossibility 
of his performing at the Surrey. 

But the Surrey people who had advertised him stoutly con- 
tending that there was no impossibility in the case, assured him 
that all would be right ; that he should play there first, then go 
to Sadler's Wells, and then to Covent Garden to finish the 
evening. To the end that he should be in good time at each 
house, it was proposed that a chaise, with the best horses 
that could be procured, should be provided, and held in 
readiness to carry him at the greatest possible speed from place 
to place. 

Not having the heart to disappoint the parties interested, he 
consented to this arrangement. At the Surrey, he played with 
Bologna in the pantomime ; the moment it was over, he jumped 
into a chaise and four that was waiting at the door, and started 
for Sadler's Wells. Bologna accompanied him to see the issue 
of the proceeding, and, by dashing through the streets at a 
most extraordinary pace, they reached Sadler's Wells just at 
the commencement of the overture for the pantomime. Hur- 
rying to re-paint his face, which had been very much bedaubed 
by the rain, which poured upon it, as he looked out of the chaise- 
window entreating the post-boys to drive a little slower, and 
thrusting himself into the dress of the " Talking Bird." he waa 


ready at the instant when the call-boy told him he was wanted. 
There still remained Co vent Garden, and towards the close of 
the pantomime he grew very anxious, looking constantly towards 
the sides of the stage to see if Bologna was still there ; for as 
he was the Perouse of the night, and was wanted a full half- 
hour before him, he felt something like security so long as he 
remained. At length the pantomime was over, and once more 
taking their seats in the same chaise, they drove at the same 
furious pace to Covent Garden, and were ready dressed and in 
the green-room before the first bars of the overture had been 
played. This change of dress assisted greatly in recovering 
him from his fatigue, and he went through the third part as 
well as the first, leeling no greater exhaustion at the close of 
the performances than was usual with him on an ordinary night. 
The only refreshment which he took during the whole evening 
was one glass of warm ale and a biscuit. He plumed himself 
very much on this feat ; for although he had played clown at 
two theatres for twenty-eight nights successively, he considered 
it something out of the common way, and triumphed in it 

He had a specimen next day of the spirit which Eawcett still 
cherished towards him, and which, but for the kindness of Mr. 
Harris, might have injured him severely on many occasions. 
Applying as usual at the treasury for his weekly salary of ten 
pounds, he was informed by the treasurer, with great politeness 
and apparent regret, that he had received orders from Mr. 
Fawcett to stop it for that week. He instantly posted off in 
search of that gentleman, and upon finding him, requested to 
know why his salary was not to be paid. 

" Because, sir," replied Mr. Fawcett, " because you have 
thought fit to play at the Surrey Theatre without mentioning 
the matter to us, or asking our permission." 

Grimaldi whistled a little to express his total unconcern, and, 
turning away, muttered, "Eor us and for our tragedy, thus 
stooping to your clemency, we beg your hearing patiently." In 
crossing the stage to the door, he met Mr. Harris, who had that 
instant entered the theatre, having arrived in town not ten 
minutes before. He shook him kindly by the hand, and in- 
fuired how he was. 

" Why, sir," said Grimaldi, " I am as well as can be expected, 
considering that my salary has been stopped." 

" Why, what have you been about, Joe ?" 

" Played for Mrs. Hayward's benefit at the Surrey, sir." 

" Oh ! without leave, I suppose?" 

"Why, sir," answered Grimaldi, "there was no one in the 
theatre who was, in my opinion, entitled actually to give or 
refuse leave ; you were out of town : with Mr. Pawcett I have 
nothing to do-^-he has neither connexion with nor influence 
over my line of business, nor do I wish him to have any ; Mr. 


JFarley is the only gentleman under yourself whom I consider 
myself obliged to acknowledge as a superior here and to him I 
did name it, and he told me to go, for I should not be wanted/' 

"Joe," said Mr. Harris, ^ after a moment's pause, "go to 
Brandon, and tell him to give you your money. And, mind, 
I've entered into an arrangement for you to go and see pimond 
again in October, upon the same terms as before : so mind you 
go, and I'll take care you are neither fined nor wanted." 

For this double liberality he expressed his best thanks, and 
returning to the treasury, with the manager's message, received 
his salary, and departed. 

On the 15th of the next month, his first benefit for that 
season took place at Sadler's Wells. He sustained the part of 
Don Juan; and his son, J. S. Grimaldi, played Scaramouch, 
being his second appearance. He acted the part capitally, and 
had a great reception, so that his father now in good earnest 
began to hope he would not only support the name of Grimaldi, 
but confer upon it increased popularity. The receipts of this 
night were 23 1L 14s. Three months afterwards his second 
benefit occurred : Monday, the 9th of October, was the day fixed 
for it, but on the preceding Saturday he was suddenly seized 
with severe illness, originating in a most distressing impediment 
in his breathing. Medical assistance was immediately called 
in, and he was bled until nigh fainting. This slightly relieved 
him ; but shortly afterwards he had a relapse, and four weeks 
passed before he recovered sufficiently to leave the house. There 
is no doubt but that some radical change had occurred in his 
constitution, for previously to this attack he had never been 
visited with a single day's illness, while after its occurrence he 
never had a single day of perfect health. 

On the Monday, finding it would be impossible for him to 
play, he procured a substitute, and immediately had bills printed 
and posted outside the theatre. His absence made a difference 
of about fifty pounds in the receipts; but as his son played 
Scaramouch, and played it well, he sustained no greater pecu- 
niary loss, and had the satisfaction of hearing from all quarters 
that his son was rapidly improving. 

After ^ the lapse of a month Grimaldi became tolerably well, 
and as it was now time for him to keep his engagement with 
Dimond, he went to Bath in November, and remained there 
until the middle of December, occasionally acting at Bristol. 
The profits of this trip were two hundred and ninety-four 

It was either during this provincial trip, or about this time, 
that he first became acquainted with Mr. Davidge, the late 
lessee of the ^Surrey Theatre. He was then the Harlequin at 
Bath and Bristol, and although he afterwards became a round 
and magisterial figure, was then a very light and active panto- 


In 1-he pantomimes Davidge was the Harlequin, and Grimaldi 
of course the Clown. They were accustomed to call the Pan- 
taloon, who was a very indifferent actor, hy the name of " Billy 
Coombes," why, they best knew, but it seems not to have been 
his real name. This worthy had given both Davidge and 
Grimaldi mighty offence upon several occasions, possibly _ by 
making his appearance on the stage in a state of intoxication. 
Grimaldi forgot the precise cause of affront, but, whatever it 
was, they deemed it a very great one ; and Davidge, upon 
several occasions, took opportunities of hinting, in speeches 
fraught with determination and replete with a peculiar variety 
of expletives, that he was resolved some time or other to be 
revenged upon that Billy Coombes. 

One evening, while the pantomime was in progress, and the 
two friends were exciting much mirth and applause, Davidge 
pointed to a chest which was used in the piece, and whispering 
that there was a lock upon it with a key, remarked that Billy 
had to get into it directly, and asked whether it would not be a 
good joke to turn the key upon him. Grimaldi readily concurred, 
and no sooner was the unconscious Billy Coombes beneath the 
lid of the chest, than he was locked in, amidst the plaudits of 
the audience, who thought it a capital trick. There were but 
two more scenes in the pantomime, which Davidge had to com- 
mence. Just as he was going on the stage, Grimaldi inquired 
whether he had let out the Pantaloon. 

'"^o," he replied hastilv, "I have not, but I will directly I 
come off." So saying, he aanced upon the stage, followed by 
Grimaldi, and the iisual buffeting ensued with the accustomed 
effect. The pantomime was over a few minutes afterwards, and 
Grimaldi, who felt very tired when he had gone through his 
part, in consequence of his recent illness, went straight home, 
and was in bed a very short time after the curtain fell. 

There was a call the next morning for the rehearsal of a few 
new pantomime scenes which Grimaldi had prepared to vary 
the entertainments. However, as the Pantaloon was not forth- 
coming, they could not be gone through with any useful effect. 
When Davidge arrived, Grimaldi mentioned the circumstance. 

" I suppose," he said, " our victim has taken our conduct in 
high dudgeon, and doesn't mean to come this morning. We 
shall be in a pretty mess at night if he does not !" 

" What do you mean ?" said Davidge, with a look of surprise. 
" This Billy Coombes, he is not come to the theatre to-day, 
and is not to be found at his lodgings, for we have sent a man 

" By G ," said Davidge, "I never let him out of the box !" 
On reflection, they had certainly finished the pantomime 
without him, although it did not strike them at the time, be- 
cause, as he was no great actor, the business of the last two 
scenes had been arranged entirely between Davidge and 


Grimaldi. They lost no time in inquiring after the chest, and 
it was at length discovered in a cellar below the stage. On 
raising the lid, the Pantaloon was discovered, and a truly 
pitiable object he looked, although they were both not a little 
relieved to find he was alive, for, not knowing that the chest 
was perforated in various places, they had entertained some 
serious fears that when he did turn up, he might be found 
suffocated. Every necessary assistance was afforded him, and 
he never suffered in the slightest degree from his temporary 
confinement. He said that he had shouted as loud as he could, 
and had knocked and kicked against the sides of his prison, 
but that nobody had taken the least notice of him, which he 
attributed to the incessant noise and bustle behind the scenes. 
With the view of keeping the stage as clear as possible, every- 
thing used in a pantomime is put away at once ; the chest was 
lowered by a trap into the cellar, notwithstanding the shouts 
from the Pantaloon, who, knowing that he would be released 
next day, went to sleep very quietly. 

This was the version of the story given by the ingenious Mr. 
Coombes, and in this version Grimaldi was an implicit believer. 
"We are rather disposed to think that Mr. Coombes might have 
thrown an additional light upon the matter by explaining that 
he had got into the chest that morning to turn the tables upon 
his assailants, the more so, as he received various little presents 
in the way of compensation for his imprisonment, with which 
he expressed himself perfectly satisfied. 

This " Billy Coombes," or whatever the man's name may 
have been, once said a very ludicrous thing upon the stage, 
which convulsed the audience with laughter. The play was 
Borneo and Juliet, and ho was cast to perform Sampson. The 
wardrobe of the theatre being very scanty, he was habited in a 
most absurd and ridiculous dress, every article of which had 
evidently formed a portion of a different suit, and which was, 
moreover, full three sizes too large for him, especially the coat, 
the cuffs of which, instead of ornamenting his wrists, dangled 
over his fingers' ends. In this disguise, " Billy," who waxed 
extremely wroth at the figure he cut, presented himself to the 
audience, and was, of course, received with a load laugh. 

Now, in the first scene of the play, Sampson, according to 
the stage-direction, has to bite his thumb at Abram, a servitor 
of the rival house, upon which the following dialogue ensues : 

"Abram. Do yon bite your thumb at us, air ? 
" Samp, (aside) Is the law on our side if I say ay ? 
" Gregory. No. 

"Samp. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb 

Billy Coombes very coolly omitted biting his thumb at all 
hut the actor who played Abram, desirous to carry on the busi- 


ness of the scene, thought it best to take it for granted that the 
stage-direction had been complied with, and turning indig- 
nantly round, said, 

" Do you bite your thumb at us, sir ?" 

" No, sir," replied Billy Coombes, in a clear and loud voice ; 
" I would, sir, with pleasure, only my master puts me into such 
a queer coat, sir," holding up one of the long sleeves, " that I 
can't get at my fist for the life of me." 

The audience roared, the actors laughed, and for some 
minutes the stage-business was at a complete stand- still : Billy 
meanwhile making many apparently sincere and laboured 
attempts to uncover his hand, in which at last he thought 
proper to succeed, and giving the right cue, the play went on. 

When Grimaldi returned to town, the rehearsals of " Harle- 
quin and the Sylph of the Oak, or the Blind Beggar of Bethnal 
Green," commenced at Covent Garden. It was produced with 
great success at the usual time, and was followed, in April, 
1816, by Pocock's melodrama of "Robinson Crusoe, or the Bold 
Buccaneer," in which Grimaldi played Friday, and Farley 
acted Crusoe. This was the most successful adaptation of De 
Toe's great story ; it was played for a great many nights, and ia 
still occasionally performed.* 

Performed for the first time, on Wednesday, December 26, 1806. Harlequin, 
Mr. Bologna; Clown, Mr. Grimaldi; Pantaloon, Mr. Norman; Flyflap, at- 
tendant on Harlequin, by Master Grimaldi ; Columbine, Miss T. Dennett, h* f 
tfvrt txitooaranoa in thut character. 



1816 to 1817. 

He quits Sadler's Wells in consequence of a disagreement with the Proprietors 
Lord Byron Ketirement of John Kemble Immense success of Grimaldi 
in the Provinces, and his great Gains A scene in a Barber's Shop. 

AT Sadler's "Wells the principal novelty of the season of 1816 
was a very successful melodrama called " Philip and his Dog." 
During a period of thirty-eight years, that is to say from 1782* 
to 1820 inclusive, Grimaldi was never absent from Sadler's 
Wells, except for one season. The cause of his non-engage- 
ment in 1817 was this: His former articles expiring a few 
days before the close of the previous season, he received a note 
from Mr. Charles Dibdin, requesting to know upon what terms 
he would be disposed to renew them. He replied, that they 
had only to make the pounds t guineas, and he would be con- 
tent. There was no objection to this proposition, but he was 
informed that the proprietors had arrived at the resolution of no 
longer allowing him two benefits in each year, and of permitting 
him in future to take only one. He considered this a very 
arbitrary and unjust proceeding. As he had never under any 
circumstances cleared less than 150. from a benefit, this reduc- 
tion necessarily involved the diminution of his yearly income 
Iby a large sum ; and as he paid 60. for the house on every such 
occasion, which was probably more than it would otherwise 
have had in it, he did not think that the proprietors could urge 
any just reason for proposing the alteration. After considering 
these points, he wrote to Mr. Charles Dibdin, at that time a 
proprietor himself, that he could on no Consideration give up 
either of his accustomed benefits. To this note he received no 
reply, but he confidently expected that they would not attempt 
a season without him, he being at that time unquestionably the 
lion of the theatre, and certainly drawing money to the house. 
He was, however, deceived, for he heard no more from Mr. 
Charles Dibdin, and eventually learned that Paulo was engaged 
in his place. 

Joe made his debitt on the stage, at Sadler's Wells, on Easter Monday, 1781. 

t Grimaldi's salary at this time was twelve pounds, but the determination of 
not allowing him the second benefit was the cause of his absence from the Well? 
in 1817. 


In the November of this year he made a little excursion of 
four days to Brighton, the theatre of which town belonged to 
Mr. John Brunton, who was likewise an actor, and a very good 
one too, at Covent Garden. This gentleman was the father of 
one of our best modern actresses Mrs. Yates, whose talents are 
so well and so deservedly appreciated. He was always a kind 
friend to Grimaldi, and had no cause to accuse him of ingrati- 

At Brighton they played " Valentine and Orson," " Kobinson 
Crusoe," &c.. in which Brunton, who was well acquainted with 
pantomime and melodrama, acted Farley's parts, while Gri- 
maldi, of course, sustained his original characters. They were 
very successful indeed, Grimaldi receiving 100. for his remune- 
ration, with which, as will be readily supposed, he was perfectly 
well satisfied. 

At this time he repeatedly met with Lord Byron, not only at 
Covent Garden, but at various private parties to which he was 
invitod ; and eventually they became very good Mends. Lord 
Byron was, as all the world knows, an eccentric man, and he 
loses nothing of the character in Grimaldi's hands. 

" Sometimes," he says, "his lordship appeared lost in deep 
melancholy, and when that was the case, really looked the pic- 
ture of despair, for his face was highly capable of expressing 
profound grief; at other times he was very lively, chatting with 
great spirit and vivacity ; and then occasionally he would be a 
complete fop, exhibiting his white hands and teeth with an 
almost ludicrous degree of affectation. But whether ' grave or 
gay, lively or severe,' his bitter, biting sarcasm never was 
omitted or forgotten." 

It never fell to Grimaldi's lot to hear any person say such 
severe things as Byron accustomed himself to utter, and they 
tended not a little to increase the awe with which, upon their 
first interview, he had been predisposed to regard him. As to 
Grimaldi himself, Byron invi. 'ably acted towards him with 
much condescension and good h amour, frequently conversing 
with him for hours together; and when the business of the 
evening called him away, he would wait at the " wings" for 
him, and as soon as he came off the stage, recommence the con- 
versation where it had been broken off. Grimaldi rarely contra- 
dicted him, fearing to draw down upon himself the sarcasms 
which he constantly heard fulminated against others ; and when 
they spoke on subjects with Byron's opinions upon which he 
was unacquainted, he cautiously endeavoured to ascertain them 
before he ventured to give his own, fearing, as he felt so very 
warmly upon most questions, that he might chance to dissent 
from him upon one in which he took great interest. 

Before Lord Byron left England upon the expedition whence 
he was (kstiued to return no more, he presented Grimaldi, as a 



token, lie said, of his regard, with a valuable silver snuff-box, 
around which was the inscription, " The gift of Lord Byron to 
Joseph Grimaldi." It was of course preserved with the most 
scrupulous care, and valued more highly than any article in his 
possession. It is but an act of justice to both parties to say, 
that Lord Byron always treated him with the greatest libe- 
rality. In 1808, when he saw him act for the first time, he sent 
a message to his residence, requesting that he would always 
forward to him one box ticket whenever he took a benefit. 
This he regularly did, and in return invariably received on the 
following day a five-pound note. 

" Harlequin Gulliver, or the Flying Island," which was the 
pantomime of the year at Covent Garden, was so successful as 
to be played sixty-three nights before Easter. On the 30th of 
March, a piece, under the title of " The Marquis de Carabbas, 
or Puss in Boots," was produced, and utterly failed. It was a 
very poor affair, was only played one night, and appears to have 
fully deserved its fate. 

On the same night Sadler's "Wells commenced its season, upon 
which occasion the unexpected absence of Grimaldi occasioned 
quite a commotion among the Audience. He had said nothing 
about it himself, nor was the circumstance known to the public 
until the bills were put forth, when the announcement of 
Paulo's engagement and Grimaldi's secession occasioned much 
surprise and some manifestation of feeling. Grimaldi had been 
spending a few days at Egham ; and upon his return to town, 
towards the latter end of March, was not a little amazed to see 
the walls in the neighbourhood of his house in Spa-fields com- 
pletely covered with placards emanating from the rival parties, 
some bearing the words " Joey for ever !" others displaying 
" No Paulo !" and others, again, " No Grimaldi !" It was 
supposed by some that Grimaldi himself had a hand in the 
distribution of these bills ; but he solemnly denied it, declaring 
that he never saw or heard anything of them until they were 
paraded upon the walls on his return to town. 

The theatre opened with " Philip and his Dog," and a new 
harlequinade, called "April Fools, or Months and Mummery." 
Being informed that it was Dibdin's intention, if any disturb- 
ance occurred in consequence of his absence, to address the 
house, and state that it had resulted from Grimaldi's express 
wish, he went to the boxes on the opening night, determined, if 
any such statement were made, to address the audience from 
his place, and explain the circumstances under which he had 
left the theatre. He was spared this very disagreeable task, 
however, no other expression of public feeling taking place 
except that which is of all others most sensibly and acutely felt 
by a manager the people stayed away. Instead of every seat 

Mrs. Bryan, Joe's legatee, possesses this snuff-box. 


oeing taken, and standing-places eagerly secured, as ^ 'had 
formerly been the case, the theatre was not a quarter filled. 
There were only forty persons, and these principally friends of 
the proprietors, in the boxes; not more than a hundred in 
the pit, and the gallery was not half full. Grimaldi stayed only 
the first act of the first piece, and then, seeing no probability of 
being called for, walked away to Covent Garden, to dress for 
"Puss in Boots," the untimely fate of which has been already 

The next morning, the newspapers, one and all, made known 
Grimaldi's absence from Sadler's Wells, and regretted it as a 
circumstance which could not fail to prove very injurious to the 
interests of the theatre. They did this without decrying the 
merits of Paulo, who was really a very good Clown, but who 
laboured under the double disadvantage of not being known at 
Sadler's "Wells, and of following in the wake of one who had 
been a great favourite there for so many years. 

Grimaldi's non-engagement at Sadler's Wells was no sooner 
made known, than the provincial managers vied with each 
other in their endeavours to secure him. Mr. W. Murray, the 
manager of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Theatres, offered him 
an engagement at each for six nights when Covent Garden 
closed, which he immediately accepted. The terms were these : 
Grimaldi was to have the best night's receipts out of each six, 
Murray the second best, and the other four to be equally 
divided between them, deducting forty pounds for expenses. 
He had no sooner closed with this proprietor than he was 
waited upon by Mr. Knight, of the Manchester and Liverpool 
Theatres, who offered him an engagement for three weeks, into 
which he also entered. There then followed such a long list of 
offers, that if he had had twelve months at his disposal instead 
of six weeks, they would have occupied the whole time. Many 
of these offers were of the most handsome and liberal nature ; 
and it was with great regret that he was compelled to decline 

As there was nothing for Grimaldi to do at Covent Garden, in 
consequence of the early decease of " Puss in Boots," he accepted 
an overture from Mr. Brunton, who was the lessee of the 
Birmingham Theatre, for himself and his son, to act there for 
seven nights. It was the son's first provincial excursion, and 
the profits were somewhere about two hundred pounds. He 
took Worcester in his way on his return, and agreed, at the 
pressing request of Mr. Crisp, the manager, to stop and play 
there one night. He offered forty pounds down, or a fair 
division of the receipts. Grimalcu. chose the former terms, 
acted Scaramouch to a very crowded house, sang several songs, 
and finished with a little pantomime in which he and his soa 
were Clowns. He supped with the manager, who, at the con- 
clusion of the weal, orosented him with a fifty-pound note, 


saying*, if lie would accept that sum in lieu of the one agreed 
upon, it was heartily at his service, and he (the manager) 
would still be a great gainer by the transaction. This liberal 
treatment gave him a very favourable impression of the 
Worcester manager, whom he assured, that, should he ever be 
in that part of the country again, he would not fail to commu- 
nicate with him. The next day, father and son both returned 
to town, when the former had the satisfaction of hearing that 
he had not been wanted at Covent Garden. He found several 
letters from provincial managers offering great terms ; but as 
he was obliged to be in London at the opening of Covent 
Garden, and the theatres to which they related did not lie any- 
where in his route from Edinburgh to Liverpool, he had no 
option but to decline these proposals. 

On the 23rd of June, in this year, John Kemble took his final 
leave of the stage, the entertainments being " Coriolanus," and 
" The Portrait of Cervantes." At the conclusion of the play, 
in which he had sustained the chief part with all . his wonted 
dignity and grace, Kemble spoke a brief address, in which he 
took his farewell of the public, whom he had so long delighted. 
A white satin scarf with a wreath was thrown from the boxes, 
which falling short, lighted in the orchestra ; upon which M. 
Talma, the French tragedian, who was sitting there, instantly 
rose from his seat and placed it on the stage, amidst thunders of 

Grimaldi appeared but seldom during the remainder of the 
season at Covent Garden, which closed on the 2nd of July. On 
the following day he left London for Scotland. When he 
reached Edinburgh, he was not a little surprised to hear from 
Mr. Murray, that in consequence of Emery being engaged to 
play at Glasgow, he should be obliged to limit his (Grimaldi's) 
nights there to three instead of six, as agreed upon. This very 
much surprised him ; but as there was no help for it, he ac- 
quiesced with a good grace, and left Edinburgh immediately for 
Glasgow, where he was to act on the following night. It 
chanced that it was Sunday, a day on which the common stage- 
coaches do not run in Scotland, and he therefore took a post- 
chaise, which was eleven hours and a half performing the 
distance, or about double the time in which he could have 
walked it with ease. 

" Whittington," "Don Juan," "Valentine and Orson," and 
" The Eivals," were the pieces acted at Glasgow. In the first 
three his son performed with him ; in the latter he played 
Acres, and was very well received. He played this part thro ugh- 
out his provincial trips, and always to the perfect satisfaction 
and amusement of the audience. He never played llichard the 
Third in the provinces, as has been represented, but limited his 
performance of characters out of pantomime or melodrama, to 
Acres, Moll Elaggon, and one other part. 


When Grimaldi had finished at Glasgow, he joined the com- 
pany at Edinburgh, where he played Acres twice. The song of 
Tippity witchet took amazingly with the gude folks of Auld 
Reekie, and hoth he and his son were received with great kind- 
ness and favour. 

On the day after the completion of the engagement, Mr. 
Murray called at Grimaldi's lodgings, and wrote him a cheque 
for 417 as his share, concluding by inviting him to pay him a 
similar visit during the following summer. The next morning 
he went to the bank to get his cheque cashed, when he was told 
that he could only receive Edinburgh notes, which were not 
payable out of Scotland, unless he consented to pay five per 
cent, for the accommodation. He was very loth to accept the 
one or pay the other ; which the banker perceiving, told him 
that he happened to have a Bank-stock English note, payable 
forty days after sight, for 400., which he could let him nave. 
Not being short of cash, he accepted this, and received the 111. 
balance in Scotch notes. ^ 

On the 22nd, Grimaldi left Edinburgh for Berwick, where he 
had promised to play for two nights, and where he came out the 
following evening. He was greatly amazed when he saw the 
theatre at this town : it was situate up a stable yard, in a loft, 
to reach which it was necessary to climb two flights of stairs, 
the whole entrance being mean and dirty, and, to ladies espe- 
cially, particularly disagreeable. But his surprise was far from 
being confined to the exterior of the theatre : on the contrary, 
when he surveyed its interior, and found it neat and complete, 
perfect in its appointments, and even stylish in its decorations, 
his amazement was increased. It was still further augmented 
by the appearance and manner of the audience to which he 
played in the evening, for he had never by any chance acted 
(taking the size of the building into consideration) to a more 
fashionable and brilliant box-company. 

The second night was as good as the first, and he received for 
his exertions 921. 7s. On this evening he supped with the 
manager, and during their meal the servant brought in a letter 
directed to Grimaldi, which had just been left at the door by a 
footman in livery, who, after delivering it, had immediately 
walked away. He broke the seal, and read as follows : 

" SIR, Accept the enclosed as a reward of your merit, and 
the entertainment we have received from you this evening. 


" Thursday, July 24th, 1817." 

The " inclosed" alluded to by the writer was a bank note for 
501. \ 

Next day Grimaldi bade adieu to Berwick, and went direct 
to Liverpool, where he made his first appearance on the 30th ; 
and here, according to previous arrangement, he remained three 


weeks. His salary was to be 111. per week, with half a cleai 
benefit, or the whole house for 40., which he chose. 

As the night fixed upon for his benefit (which was the last of 
his engagement) drew nigh, he began anxiously to deliberate 
whether he should speculate in the " whole house," or not. He 
had no friends or acquaintances in Liverpool to assist him, but, 
on the other hand, he had made a tremendous hit ; so, not being 
able to decide himself, he called in the aid of his friends, Emery, 
Blanchard, and Jack Johnstone, who chanced to be there at the 
time, and requested their advice how he should proceed. With 
one accord they advised him to venture upon taking the house, 
which he, adopting their advice, forthwith did, paying down 
his 40., however, with many doubts as to the result. He lost 
no time in making out his bill, and getting it printed. The play 
was " The Rivals," in which he acted Acres, and the afterpiece 
the pantomime of " Harlequin's Olio," in which his son was to 
appear as Flipflap, a kind of attendant upon harlequin, and he 
as the clown. 

Several days elapsed, but nothing betokening a good benefit 
presented itself, and Grimaldi began to suspect it would turn 
out a complete failure. On the morning of the very day he had 
sold only fourteen tickets, and walked to the theatre with 
rather downcast spirits. At the box door he met Mr. Banks, 
one of the managers, who addressed him with, 

" Well, Joe, a precious benefit you will have !" 

" So I expect," he answered, with a sigh. 

"Have you looked at the box-book r" inquired the manager, 
with a slight degree of surprise in his manner. 

" No," said Grimaldi ; " I really am afraid to do so." 

"Afraid!" echoed the manager; "upon my word, Mr. Gri- 
maldi, I don't know what you would have, or what you % are 
afraid of. Every seat in the boxes is taken ; and if there had 
been more, they would have been let." 

Hastening to the box-office, Grimaldi found that this good 
news was perfectly correct. His benefit, which took place on 
the 20th August, produced the greatest receipts ever known 
in that theatre : the sum taken was 328?. 14s., being ll. more 
than was received at Miss O'JSTeiTs benefit (who was a wonderful 
favourite in the town), and beating John Emery's by 51. He 
cleared upwards of 280Z., by following the advice of his friends; 
upon the strength of which they all dined together next day, 
and made very merry. 

Many offers from other theatres came pouring in, but Gri- 
maldi only accepted two : one to act at Preston, and the other to 
play four nights at Hereford for Mr. Crisp, for whom he naturally 
entertained very friendly feelings, remembering the courteous 
and handsome manner in which he had treated him at Worcester. 

Two days after his great benefit, Grimaldi travelled over to 
Preston, to fulfil his engagement with Mr- Howard, the manager, 


but was very much dispirited by the number of Quakers whom 
he saw walking about the streets, and whose presence in such 
numbers caused him to entertain great doubts of the success of 
this trip. The manager, however, was more sanguine, and, as 
it afterwards appeared, with good reason. He played Acres and 
Scaramouch to full houses, the receipts on the first night being 
84Z., and on the second 871. 16*. His share of the joint 
receipts was 86Z., with which sum, as it far exceeded his ex- 
pectations, he was well contented. 

On the second day after Grimaldi' s arrival in Preston, a little 
circumstance occurred, which amused him so much, that he 
intended to have introduced it in one of his pantomime scenes, 
although he never did so. He was walking along the street by 
the market-place, when, observing a barber's pole projecting 
over the pavement, and recollecting that he wanted shaving, he 
opened the shop-door, from above which hung the pole, and 
looking into the shop, saw a pretty little girl, about sixteen 
years of age, who was sitting at needlework. She rose to receive 
him, and he inquired if the master was within. 

" No, sir," said the girl ; " but I expect him directly." 

" Very good," replied Grimaldi : " I want to look about me a 
little; I'll call again." 

After strolling through the market-place a little while, he 
called a^iin, but the barber had not come home. Grimaldi was 
walking down the street after this second unsuccessful call, 
when he encountered Mr. Howard, the manager, with whom he 
fell into conversation, and they walked up and down the street 
talking together. As he was going to the theatre, and wished 
Grimaldi to accompany him, they turned in that direction, and 
passing the barbers shop, again looked in. The girl was still 
sitting at work ; but she laid it aside when the visitors entered, 
and said she really was very sorry, but her father had not 
come in yet. 

"That's very provoking," said Grimaldi, "considering that 
I have called here three times already." 

The girl agreed that it was, and, stepping to the door, looked 
anxiously up the street and down the street, but there was no 
barber in sight. 

"Do you want to see him on any particular business?" in- 
quired Howard. 

" Bless my heart ! no, not I," said Grimaldi : " I only want 
to be shaved." 

" Shaved, sir !" cried the girl. " Oh, dear me ! what a pity 
it is you did not say so before ! for I do most of the shaving for 
father when he's at home, and all when he's out." 

" To be sure she does," said Howard ; "I have been shaved 
by her fifty times." 

" You have !" said Grimaldi. " Oh, I'm sure I have no objec- 
tion. I am quite ready, my dear." 


Grimaldi sat himself down in a chair, and the girl commenced 
the task in a very business-like manner, Grimaldi feeling an 
irresistible tendency to laugh at the oddity of the operation, but 
smothering it by dint of great efforts while the girl was shaving 
his chin. At length, when she got to his upper lip, and took 
his nose between her fingers with a piece of brown paper, he 
could stand it no longer, but burst into a tremendous roar of 
laughter, and made a face at Howard, which the girl no sooner 
saw than she dropped the razor and laughed immoderately 
also ; whereat Howard began to laugh too, which only set 
Grimaldi laughing more ; when just at this moment in came 
the barber, who, seeing three people in convulsions of mirth, 
one of them with a soapy face and a gigantic mouth making the 
most extravagant faces over a white towel, threw himself into 
a chair without ceremony, and dashing ^his hat on the ground, 
laughed louder than any of them, declaring in broken words as 
he could find breath to utter them, that " that gentleman as was 
being shaved, was out of sight the funniest gentleman he had 
ever seen," and entreating him to " stop them faces, or he knew 
he should die." When they were all perfectly exhausted, the 
barber finished what his daughter had begun ; and rewarding 
the girl with a shilling, Grimaldi and the manager took their 
leaves. , 

Having settled at the theatre, received his money, and made 
several purchases in the town, (for he always spent a per-centago 
in every place where he had been successful,) Grrimaidi returned 
to Liverpool on the 24th of August. 



More provincial success Bologna and hia economy Comparative clearness ol 
Welsh Bare-bits and Partridges Remarkably odd modes of saving money. 

HAVING no engagement at Liverpool, indeed, having no time 
to accept one, Grimaldi remained there only two days, at the 
expiration of which time he went to Heneiord, and having 
waited on Mr. Crisp, the manager, went to look at the theatre, 
which, to his great astonishment and concern, he found to be 
nothing more than a common square room, with a stage four 
yards wide and about as many high, the head of the statue in 
Don Juan being obscured by the liies, and thus rendered wholly 
invisible to the audience What made this circumstance the 
more annoying, was, that on the statue being seen to nod its 
head depended the effect of one of the very best scenes of 

As Grimaldi did not hesitate to express his great mortification 
and annoyance, and his decided indisposition to act in such a 
place for four nights, which was_the term originally proposed, 
a fresh arrangement was entered into, by which, he engaged to 
play two nights at Hereford, and two at Worcester, where he 
knew there was a better _ theatre. At the former town the 
receipts were on the first night 42^., and on the second 45., his 
share of the total being 43/. 10s. At Worcester, the receipts of 
the first night were S7l., and of the second 93Z. 16*. : here lie 
also received a moiety of the two nights' receipts. 

Having now concluded his provincial engagements, Grimaldi 
repaired to Cheltenham for rest and relaxation, and remained 
there until the second week in September, when he returned to 
London. f While at Cheltenham, he stumbled upon his old 
friend, Richer, the rope-dancer, already mentioned as having 
been engaged at Sadler's Wells, at an early period of Grimaldi's 
career. He had retired from the profession, and was married 
to the widow of a clergyman who had died extremely rich. 
They were living in great style, and to all appearance very 

The following account of Grimaldi's gains during this short 
excursion will afford some idea of the immense sums he was in 
the habit of receiving about this time. The amount was so 


much more than he had supposed, that on going over the 
calculation, he could scarcely believe he was correct. It was as 
follows : 

Brighton, four nights 

Birmingham, six . 

Worcester, one 

Glasgow and Edinburgh, nine 

Berwick, two 

Liverpool, sixteen 

Preston, two 

Hereford, two 

Worcester, (2nd visit) two 

Total . . 1423 19 

The accounts which he received at Sadler's Wells on his 
return were unusually had. They were fully corroborated by 
Mr. Hughes, who informed him it had been the very worst 
season the theatre nad ever known. 

Having nothing to do at Covent Garden, and entertaining a 
very pleasant and lively recollection of the profits of his last 
trip, Grimaldi determined on making another excursion, 
and accepted an offer from Elliston, to play four nights at 
Birmingham, by which he cleared 150/. From Birmingham 
he went to Leicester, where Elliston also had a theatre, and 
where he played for two nights, being accompanied by Mr. 
Brunton, who was Elliston's stage-manager. They were very 
successful, Grimaldi's share of the receipts being 70. 

The morning after his last performance here, Grimaldi took 
a post-chaise and started for Chester, where he had undertaken 
to act for one week. As the chaise drove up to the White Lion, 
the London coach drove up too, and, seated on the outside, he 
saw, to his great surprise, his old friend Old Bologna, who, it 
appeared, had been engaged expressly to perform with him in 
"Mother Goose." The unexpected meeting afforded great plea- 
sure to both, and having ordered a private sitting room and a 
good dinner, they sat down together and fell into conversation ; 
in the course of which Bologna, by various hints and other 
slight remarks, gave his_ friend to understand that his old 
characteristic of never being able, without a strong effort, to 
make up his mind to spend a penny was by no means impaired 
by time. The room was handsomely fitted up ; and the dinner, 
which was speedily placed before them, consisted of a great 
variety of expensive delicacies, the sight of which awakened in 
Bologna's mind a great many misgivings concerning the bill, 
which were not at all lessened by the landlady's informing 
them, with a low curtsey, as she placed the first dish on the 
table, that she knew who they were, and that she would answer 
for their being provided with every luxury and comfort the 
house would afford. They were no sooner left alone, than 


Bologna, with a very dissatisfied ^ air, inf armed his friend that 
he saw it would never do to stay in that house. 

" Why not ?" inquired Grimaldi. 

" Because of the expense," he answered. " Bless me ! look at 
the accommodations : what do you suppose they'll charge for all 
this ? It wont suit me, Toe ; I shall be off." 

" You can do as you please," rejoined his friend ; " but if 
you'll take my advice, you'll remain where you are : for I have 
ibund from experience, that if there is a choice between a first- 
rate and a second-rate house, one should always go to the 
former. There you have the best articles at a fair price ; while 
at the other you have bad things, worse served up, and 
enormously dear." 

Bologna was ultimately prevailed upon not to leave the house, 
contenting himself with various economical resolutions, which 
he commenced putting in practice when the waiter appeared to 
know if they would order supper. 

" Supper !" exclaimed Bologna ; " certainly not ; not on any 
account. Suppers are extremely unhealthy : I never take them 
by any chance." 

" You may get some supper for me" said Grimaldi, " and 
have it ready at half-past eleven." 

" What will you like to order, sir ?" 

" I'll leave it to the landlady. Anything nice will do." 

" Good Heaven !" said Bologna, as the waiter went out of the 
room ; " what a bill you'll have to pay here !" 

They strolled about the town : arranged with the manager to 
commence next night with "Mother Goose," and having be- 
guiled the time till supper, repaired to the inn, where a fine 
brace of partridges, done to a turn, were placed before Grimaldi, 
which his companion eyed with very hungry looks, congratu- 
lating himself aloud, however, upon having saved himself that 
expense, at all events. 

There was a silence for some minutes, broken only by the 
clatter of the knives and forks ; and then Bologna, who had 
been walking up and down the room in a restless manner, 
stopped short, and inquired if the birds were nice ? 

" Very," replied Grimaldi, helping himself again; "they are 

Bologna walked up and down the room faster after this, and 
then rang the bell with great vehemence. The waiter appeared, 
and Bologna, after long consideration, hesitatingly ordered a 
Welsh rare-bit. 

"Certainly, sir," said the man; and by the time Grimaldi 
had finished his supper, the Welsh rare-bit appeared. 

" Stop a minute, waiter," said Bologna. " Grimaldi, do you 
mean to take supper every night ?" 

"Certainly. Every night." 

" Well, then, waiter, remember to bring me a Welsh rare-bit 


every evening when Mr. Grimaldi takes his supper. I don't 
want it ; but it has so rude an appearance to sit looking- on 
while another man is eating, that I must do it as a matter of 
form and comfort. You'll not forget r" 

"I'll be sure to remember,. sir," was the reply. 

The moment he was gone, Grimaldi burst into a great roar of 
laughter, which }a.s friend took in high dudgeon, muttering 
various observations regarding extravagance, which were re- 
sponded to by divers remarks relative to shabbiness,, Neither 
of them gave way, and the supper arrangement was regularly 
acted upon ; Grimaldi alwavs having some^warm dish of game or 
poultry, and Bologna solacing himself with a Welsh rare-bit, 
and the reflection of having saved money while his companion 
spent it. They stayed at Chester nine days in all, and when 
the bills were brought at last, found, as Grimaldi had antici- 
pated, that the charges were moderate, and well merited by the 
manner in which they had been accommodated. 

"Well, Bologna," said Grimaldi, with a triumphant air, "are 
you satisfied ?" 

" Pretty well," he replied. " I must acknowledge that the 
bills are not so heavy as I feared they would have been ; but 
there is one terrible mistake in mine. Look here ! they have 
charged me for supper every night just as they have charged 
you. That must be wrong, you know : I have had nothing but* 
Welsh rare-bits !" 

" Certainly," said Grimaldi, looking over the bill. " You 
had better ring for the waiter : I have no doubt he can explain 
the matter." 

The bell was rung, and the waiter came. 

" Oh ! here's a mistake, waiter," said Bologna, handing him 
the bill. " You have charged me for supper every night here, 
and you'll remember I only had a Welsh rare-bit. Just get it 
altered, will you ?" 

" I beg your pardon, sir," replied the waiter, glancing from 
the bill to the customer ; " it's quite right, sir." 

" Quite right r" 

" Quite, sir : it's the rule of the house, sir the rule of every 
house on the road to charge in that way. Half-a-crown for 
supper, sir ; cold beef, fowl, game, or bread and cheese : always . 
half-a-crown, sir. There were a great many other dishes that 
you might have had ; but you recollect giving a particular order 
for a Welsh rare-bit, sir ?" 

The saving man said not another word, but paid the nine 
half-crowns for the nine Welsh rare-bits, to his own great 
wrath and his friend's unspeakable amusement. 

The next morning they returned to London, and on the road 
Grimaldi had another instance of his companion's parsimony, 
which determined him never to travel in his company again. 
When the coach came to the door, he was perfectly amazed to 


find that the economical Harlequin was going to travel outside, 
bat not surprised to hear him whisper, when he expressed 
his astonishment, that he should save a pound by it, or more. 

" Yes," answered Grimaldi, " and catch a cold by sitting out- 
side all night, after your exertions at the theatre, which will 
cost you 20. at least." 

" You know nothing about it," replied Bologna, with a wink: 
'* I shall be safe inside as well as you." 

'* What ! and pay outside fare ?" 

"Just so," replied he. "I'll tell you how it is. I've ascer- 
tained that there's one place vacant inside, and that the coach 
belongs to our landlady. Now, I mean to remind her what a 
deal of money we have spent in the house ; to tell her that I 
shall be soon coming here again ; and to put it to her, whether 
she wont let me ride at least a part of the way inside." 

< Grimaldi was not a little offended and vexed by this commu- 
nication, feeling that, as they had been stopping at the house 
as companions and friends, he was rather involved in the 
shabbiness of his fellow-traveller. His angry remonstrances, 
however, produced not the slightest effect. Bologna acted 
precisely as he had threatened, and received permission from 
the good lady of the house, who was evidently much surprised 
at the application, to occupy the vacant inside place ; it being 
stipulated and understood on both sides, that if anvwhere on 
the road a passenger were found requiring an inside place, 
Bologna should either give up his, or pay the regular fare on to 

As Grimaldi could not prevent this arrangement, he was 
compelled to listen to it with a good grace. The manager, who 
came to see them off, brought 100Z. for Grimaldi, all in three- 
shilling pieces, packed up in a large brown-paper parcel ; and 
this part of the luggage being stowed in the coach-pocket, away 
they went, Bologna congratulating himself on his diplomacy, 
and Grimaldi consoling himself with the reflection that he 
should know how to avoid him in future, and that he was now, 
at least, safe from any further exhibition of his parsimony 
during the journey. The former resolution he kept, but in the 
latter conclusion he was desperately wrong. 

It was evening when they started, and at four o'clock in the 
morning, when they stopped to change horses, a customer for 
an inside place presented himself; whereupon the driver, 
opening the coach-door, civilly reminded Bologna of the condi- 
tions upon which he held his seat. 

Bologna was fast asleep the first time the man spoke, and, 
having been roused, had the matter explained to him once 
more ; upon which he sat bolt upright in the coach, and re- 
peating all the man had said, inquired with great distinctness 
whether he understood it to be put to him, that he must either 
pay the inside fare, or get out. 


" That's it, sir," said the coachman. 

" Very well," said Bologna, without the slightest alteration 
of tone or manner ; " then I shall do neither the one nor the 

The coachman, falling back a space or two from the door, and 
recovering from a brief trance of astonishment, addressed the 
passengers, the would-be passenger, the ostlers and stable-boys, 
who were standing around, upon the mean and shabby conduct 
of the individual inside, upon this, the passengers remon- 
strated, the would-be passenger stormed, the coachman and 
guard bellowed, the ostlers hooted, the stable-boys grinned, 
Grimaldi worked himself into a state of intense vexation, and 
the cause of all the tumult sat quite immovable. 

" Now, I'll tell you what it is," said the coachman, when his 
eloquence was quite exhausted, "one word's as good as a 
thousand. Will you get out ?" 

" No, I will not," answered the sleepy Harlequin. 

" Very well," said the man ; " then off goes my benjamin, 
and out you come like a sack of saw-dust." 

As the man was of that portly form and stout build which is 
the badge of all his tribe, and as, stimulated by the approving 
murmurs of the lookers-on, he began suiting the action to the 
word without delay, Bologna thought it best to come to terms ; 
so turned out into the cold air, and took his seat on the coach- 
top, amidst several expressions of very undisguised contempt 
from his fellow-passengers. 

They performed the rest of the journey in this way, and 
Grimaldi, alighting at the Angel at Islington, left Bologna to 
go on to the coach-office in Holborn, previously giving both 
the guard and coachman something beyond their usual fee, 
as an intelligible hint that he was not of the same caste as his 

Two or three days afterwards, meeting Bologna in the street, 
he inquired how he had got on at the coach-office. 

" Oh, very well," said Bologna ; " they abused me finely." 

" Just what I expected." 

" Yes, and very glad I was of it, too." 

" What do you mean ?" 

" Saved my money, Joe ; that's what I mean. If they had 
been civil, of course I must have given something, not only to 
the coachman, but the guard besides ; but as they were not 
civil, of course I did not give either of them a penny, and so 
saved something handsome by it." 

Bologna had many good qualities, and he and Grimaldi 
always remained on good terms ; but as he was not upon the 
whole the most entertaining travelling companion that could be 
found, they never afterwards encountered each other in that 



1817 to 1818. 

Onmaldi becomes a Proprietor of Sadler's Wells. Newcastle Salmon, and a 
Coal Mine. Production of Baron Munchausen. Anecdote of Ellar the Har- 
lequin, showing how he iumped through the Moon, and put his hand out. 
Gold Snuff-box, Sir Godfrey Webster, and the Duke of York. 

GRIMALDI need not have hastened back to town with so much 
expedition, for he was not in request at Covent Garden, as it 
turned out, until November, and then only for a night or two 
in " La Perouse." Still, as it was uncertain whether he might 
not be wanted at a few days' notice, he was fearful of accepting 
any provincial engagement of more than a week's duration. 

Sadler's Wells was closed when he reached London, after a 
season which had entailed a very severe loss on the proprietors ; 
the balance against whom was so heavy, as to cause it to be 
rumoured that one more such season would throw a few of the 
shares into new hands, which in reality shortly afterwards 
occurred. In a pecuniary point of view, it was an extremely 
fortunate thing for Grimaloi that he had remained absent from 
Sadler's Wells during the summer of 1817, his gains in the 
provinces being considerably more than they would have been 
if he had remained in town ; while, on the other hand, the 
degree of exertion he had to encounter in the provinces was 
greatly inferior to that which he must have sustained at Sadler's 
Wells. In addition to the 1423/. 19s. of which an account is 
given in the last chapter, he received for four nights at Bir- 
mingham 150/., for two nigbts at Leicester 70Z., and for six at 
Chester 100Z., making a clear gain of 1743Z. 19s. for fifty-six 
nights' performance ; whereas, if he had remained at Sadler's 
Wells, he would have merely received his thirty weeks' salary 
at 12Z. each, and two benefits of 150Z. each, making a total of 
6601. for one hundred and eighty nights' performance. He was 
therefore a gainer not only in the saving of bodily exertion, but 
in the sum of 1073Z. 19s., by his fortunate and unlooked-for 
expulsion from Sadler's Wells. 

In February, 1818, Grimaldi received several intimations that 
if he chose to make application to the proprietors of Sadler's 
Wells, he might return almost upon his own terms ; but he 
declined doing so, partly from feeling rather annoyed at the 



manner in which he had been treated, and partly from dis- 
covering how well provincial excursions answered in a pecuniary 
point of view, and how much more conducive they were to his 
nealth than remaining in town. Nevertheless, when Mrs. 
Hughes, the widow of his friend, waited upon him and entreated 
him herself to return, he scarcely knew how to refuse, and at 
last told her that if he returned at all to that establishment, it 
must be as a part proprietor. He said this, thinking that it 
would either release him from any further requests to go back 
to Sadler's Wells, or enable him to share in the profits which 
had been for many years accruing to the proprietors. But in 
this idea, as in many_ others, he was totally mistaken. After 
some little preliminaries, in the shape of meetings, discussions, 
waiving of objections, &c., the proposal was accepted, and he 
became the purchaser of a certain number of shares in Sadler's 
Wells from Mrs. Hughes herself.* This being arranged, Gri- 
maldi accepted an engagement for *he ensuing season upon his 
old terms, merely bargaining that he should be permitted to 
leave town about the end of July, for six weeks in each year, to 
fulfil provincial engagements. 

The Covent Garden season terminated on the 17th of July, 
and his benefit at Sadler's Wells, which occurred two nights 
afterwards, being over, (the receipts were 243Z. 195.,) he left 
town to fulfil the engagements he had entered into with country 
managers. He went first to Liverpool, where he acted from the 
27th July until the 19th of August : his profits amounted to 
327Z., being two pounds and a few shillings more than the result 
of his previous visit. Thence he went to Lancaster, the theatre 
of which town, like the one at Berwick, he found up a stable- 
yard, but very neat and commodious. Here he played two 
nights, for which he received llll. 16s. From this town he 
went to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he performed five nights, 
realizing 243. 14s. as his share of the profits. 

During his stay at Newcastle, he recollected that the best 
pickled salmon sold in London was called by that name, and 
came from thence, and he resolved to have a feast of it, naturally 
concluding that he should procure it in high perfection in the 
place whence it was brought for sale. Accordingly, one evening 

* Joe's desire was to become a proprietor, and an eighth share, at his request, 
was disposed oi to him by his brother-in-law, Mr. Hughes ; nor was the purchase- 
money demanded at the time of sale : the object was, to invest Grimaldi with an 
interest in the theatre and to attach him to it more permanently : but so far 
from any loss having arisen, we find that on reference to the treasurer's books, 
the season of 1818 and the two following were profitable, and Joe participated in 
the benefits arising therefrom. The season of 1821 was attended by loss ; but 
even then the deficit required from Grimaldi, by reason of his eighth share, was 
little more than ninety pounds ; and in that instance Joe experienced the kind- 
ness of the family to which his early marriage had attached him. The loss 
Deferred to was rendered easy to him in its liquidation. Mr. Hughes's subsequent 
JOMCS, as connected with Sadler's Wells Theatre, exceeded 5000/. 


he ordered some to be got ready for supper upon Ms return from 
the theatre ; which the waiter of the hotel he was staying at 
promised should be done, but in so curious a manner that he 
could not help fancying he did not understand his meaning. He 
therefore asked him if he had heard what he said. 

" Oh dear, yes, sir !" was the reply : " I'll take care it shall 
be ready, sir." 

This appeared to settle the point, and as soon as the play was 
over, he returned to the inn, anticipating how much better the 
salmon would be than the London pickle. The cloth was duly 
spread, and a covered dish placed before him. 

" Supper, sir quite ready, sir," said the waiter, whisking 
away the cover, and presenting to his sight a mutton cutlet. 
" You'll find this excellent, sir." 

" No doubt ; but I ordered pickled salmon !" 

" I beg your pardon, sir, did you, sir ?" (with a slight appear- 
ance of confusion.) 

" Did I ! Yes, to be sure I did. Do you mean to say you do 
not recollect it ?" 

" I may have forgotten it, sir ; I suppose I have forgotten it, 

" Well, it does not matter much ; I can make a supper of 
this. But don't forget to let me have some pickled salmon to- 
morrow evening." 

" Certainly not, sir," was the waiter's answer ; and so the 
matter ended for that night. 

On the following evening, Grimaldi invited the manager, at 
the close of the performances, to go home and sup with him, 
which he willingly did. As on the preceding evening, the meal 
was prepared and awaiting their arrival. Down they sat, and 
upon the removal of the cover, a rump-steak presented itself. 
A good deal surprised, he said to the waiter, 

" What's this ! have you forgotten the pickled salmon again?" 

" Why, really, sir, dear me !" hesitated the man, " I believe 
I have I really fancied you said you would have beef to-night, 
sir. To-morrow night, sir, I'll take care that you have some." 

" Now, mind that you do remember it, for to-morrow is the 
last day I shall be here, and I have a particular wish to taste 
some before I leave the town." 

"Depend upon me, sir, you shall certainly have some to- 
morrow, sir," said the waiter. The manager preferred meat, so 
it was no great matter, and they took their hot supper very 

There was a crowded audience next night, which was 
Grimaldi's benefit and the last of his performance. He played 
Acres and Clown, received the cash, bade farewell to the manager, 
and hurried to his inn, greatly fatigued by his performance, and 
looking forward with much pleasure to the pickled salmon. 

" All right to-night, waiter ?" he inquired. 

p a 


"All right to-night, sir," said the waiter, rubbing his hands. 
" Supper is quite ready, sir." 

" Good ! Let me have my bill to-night, because I start early 
in the morning." 

Grimaldi turned to the supper-table : there was a dish, with 
a cover ; the waiter removed it with a nourish, and presented to 
his astonished eyes not the long-expected pickled salmon, but 
a veal-cutlet. These repeated disappointments were rather too 
much, so he pulled the bell with great vehemence and called for 
the landlord. 

The landlord came, and Grimaldi having stated his grievance, 
he appeared to understand as little about the matter as his 
waiter ; but at length, after many explanations, Grimaldi 
learned to his great surprise, that pickled salmon was an article 
unknown in Newcastle, all Newcastle pickled salmon being 
sent to London for sale. The brilliant waiter not having the 
remotest conception of what was wanted, and determined not to 
confess his ignorance, had resolved to try all the dishes in the 
most general request until he came to the right one. 

Grimaldi saw a coal mine on this expedition, his curiosity 
having been roused by the manager's glowing description. We 
should rather say that he went down into one, for his survey 
was brief enough. He descended some two or three hundreu 
feet in a basket, and was met at the bottom of the shaft by a 
guide, who had not conducted him far, when a piece of coal, 
weighing about three tons, fell with a loud noise upon a spot 
over which they had just passed. 

"Hollo!" exclaimed Grimaldi, greatly terrified. "What's 

" Hech !" said the guide, " it's only a wee bit of cool fallen 
doon : we ha'e that twa or three times a day." 

" Have you ?" replied Grimaldi, running back to the shaft. 
" Then I'll thank you to ring for my basket, or call out for it, 
for I'll stop here no longer." 

The basket was lowered, and he ascended to the light without 
delay, having no wish whatever to take his chance again among 
the " wee bits of cool." 

While upon this last expedition, he received a letter from Mr. 
Harris, in which that gentleman informed him that it would be 
necessary for hirn to be in London by the 7th of September, to 
attend the opening of Covent Garden ; in consequence of which 
he was obliged to forego his Edinburgh engagement with Mr. 
Murray, which annoyed him greatly, for he had calculated 
upon clearing pretty nigh five hundred pounds by that portion 
01 his trip ; besides, being at Newcastle, he was within one 
day's journey of Edinburgh. However, he was obliged to 
attend to the summons, and so returned to London, where a few 
days afterwards he encountered Mr. Harris, with whom he had 
the following vexatious colloquy. 


" Ah, Joe !" he exclaimed, with evident surprise, " why, I did 
not expect to see you for three weeks to come !" 

" You did not, sir !" exclaimed Grimaldi, with at least aa 
equal degree of astonishment. 

" Certainly not ; I thought you were going into Scotland." 

" So I was ; but I received a letter from you, recalling me to 
town by to-day ; which summons I have obeyed, by sacrificing 
my Eoinburgh excursion, and with it about five hundred 

" Ah !" said Mr. Harris, " I see now how all this is. I sup 
pose you left Newcastle the same day you received my letter ?" 

" I did, sir." 

"That was unfortunate; for I changed my mind after 

thing to do ; we'll try ' Mother Goose ' for a night or two next 

To this obliging promise he made no reply, not deriving the 
smallest degree of comfort from it. Mr. Harris, observing that 
his offer had failed in producing the intended effect, added, 
"And as to the loss of your Edinburgh engagement, that I 
must endeavour to make up to you in some way or other at a 
future time." 

He thanked him for this kindness, and Mr. Harris did not 
forget his promise. 

The result of Grimaldi's first season's proprietorship was far 
from propitious. At first all went on very well ; but after he 
had left (as previously stipulated) in July, the houses fell to 
nothing, and when he arrived in town again in September, he 
was informed that there would be a clear loss instead of any 
profit. This both surprised and vexed him ; for Sadler's Wells 
had always been considered a very good property, and he had 
fully expected that he should, merely upon becoming a pro- 
prietor, have to receive a sum of money yearly, in addition to 
his regular salary. 

The first proprietors' meeting which he attended, occurred a 
few days after the close of the season ; and then all the books 
and papers connected with the business of the theatre being 
produced, it was found that a heavy loss was really attendant 
upon the year's campaign. 

" And pray what may be the amount ?" he inquired, rather 
dolefully, for he now began to repent of his purchase, and to 
fancy that he saw all his recently acquired wealth fading away. 

Mr. Richard Hughes shook his head when he heard his ques- 
tion, and said, " Ah, Joe, the k>ss is 3331. 13*." 

"Oh, come!" cried Grimaldi, "it's not so bad as I thought, 
3331. 13. is not so much among six persons !" which was the 
number of proprietors at that time. 


"Joe," said Mr. Hughes, gravely, "is this the first meeting 
you have attended ?" 


"Ah, then I do not wonder you have misunderstood me. 
"What I meant was, that the loss to each person is 333/. 13s., the 
gross loss heing six times that sum." 

This communication was a very unexpected hlow to all his 
hopes ; hut as there was nothing hetter to be done, he paid his 
share of the money at once with as good a grace as he could 
assume, having thus gratified his wish to hecome a proprietor 
of Sadler's Wells hy the expenditure, first, of a large sum of 
money for his shares, and secondly, of another sum of upwards 
of 330 at the end of the first season 

Grimaldi anticipated other heavy demands upon his pro- 
vincial gains of 1817 and 1818, and bitterly regretted having 
connected himself with the establishment in any other way 
than as a salaried actor. 

The Christmas pantomime at Co vent Garden "was entitled 
*' Baron Munchausen," * and proved as successful as its prede- 
cessors had done for some years. ^ During its run, a circum- 
stance occurred worthy of mention, as an instance of the 
brutality of a man belonging to the theatre. 

One night, a fellow engaged as a carpenter, and whose busi- 
ness it likewise was to assist in holding a carpet in which the 
pantomime characters are caught when they jump through the 
scenes, went to Ellar, who was the Harlequin, and holding up 
the carpet, said that it was very dry, thereby intimating in the 
cant phrase that he required something to drink. Ellar, from 
some cause or other, either because he had already fee'd the men 
liberally, or was engaged at the moment in conversation, re- 
turned some slight answer, unaccompanied by the required 
gratuity, and the fellow went away grumbling. On the follow- 
ing evening, Ellar was informed that the man had been heard 
to talk about being revenged upon him : he only laughed at the 
threat, however, and all went on as usual until the third night 
afterwards, when, as he and Grimaldi were on the stage 
together, in the scene where he used to jump through the 
"moon," and after the former had given the cue for him to 
take the leap, he was surprised to observe that he hesitated, and 
still more so when, drawing close to him, he said, in a whisper, 
" I am afraid they don't mean to catch me. I have knocked 
three times against the scene, and asked if they were ready ; but 
nobody has said a word in reply." 

" It's impossible," whispered Grimaldi : "I don't believe 
there is a man in the theatre who would dream of such a thing. 
Jump, man, jump." 

* " Baron Munchausen ; or, the Fountain of Love," first performed on Decem- 
ber 26, 1818. Harlequin, Mr. Ellar; Clown, Mr. Grimaldi; Pantaloon. Mr. 
Norman : Columbine, Miss F. Dennett. 


Ellar still paused, and Grimaldi fancying that symptoms of 
impatience were beginning to appear among the audience, told 
him so, and again urged him not to stop the business of the 
scene, but to jump at once. 

"Well, well," cried Ellar, "here goes! but Heaven knows 
how it will end!" .And in a complete state of uncertainty 
whether any men were there to catch him, or he was left to 
break his neck, he went through the scene. His fears were not 
without good ground ; for the fellows whose business it was to 
hold the carpet were holding it, as they well knew, in a position 
where he could never reach it, and down he fell. Suspecting 
his danger while in the very act of going through the panel, he 
endeavoured to save his head by sacrificing a hand. In this he 
fortunately succeeded, as he sustained no other injury than 
breaking the hand upon which he fell. The accident occasioned 
him great pain and inconvenience, but he insisted on going 
through the part, and the audience were quite ignorant of the 

The circumstance was not long in reaching the ears of Mr. 
Harris and Mr. Pawcett, who were made acquainted not only 
with Ellar's accident, but with the man's threat, and the occa- 
sion which had given rise to it. Eawcett immediately caused 
all the carpenters to assemble on the stage, and told them that if 
Mr. Ellar would undertake to say he believed the accident had 
been brought about wilfully, they should every one be dis- 
charged on the spot. Ellar being sent for, and informed that 
this was the proprietor's deliberate intention, replied without 
hesitation, that he could not believe it was intentional, and 
whispered to Grimaldi as he left the house, that the fellow had 
got a wife and half-a-dozen children dependent upon him. 

This praiseworthy resolution, which prevented several men 
from being thrown out of employment, was rendered the more 
praiseworthy by Ellar's having no earthly doubt that the 
mistake was intentional, and by his knowing perfectly well 
that if he had fallen on his head in lieu of his hand, he would 
most probably have been killed on the spot. 

While upon the subject of stage accidents, we may remark, 
that very few of these mischances befel Grimaldi, considering 
the risks to which a pantomime actor is exposed, and the 
serious injuries he is constantly encountering. The hazards 
were not so great in Grimaldi' s case as they would have been to 
any other man similarly situated, inasmuch as his clown was a 
very quiet personage, so far as the use or abuse of his limbs was 
concerned, and by no means addicted to those violent contor- 
tions of body, which are painful alike to actor and spectator. 
His clown was an embodied conception of his own, whose 
tumour was in his looks, and not in his tumbles, and who 
excited the laughter of an audience while standing upon his 
heels, and not upon his head. If the present race of clowns, 


and the rising generation of that honourable fraternity, would 
endeavour to imitate him in this respect, they would be more at 
ease themselves, and place their audiences more at ease also. 

While playing in "Baron Munchausen" at Covent Garden, 
one evening very shortly after Ellar's accident, he observed his 
Royal Highness the Duke of York, accompanied by Sir Godfrey 
"Webster and another gentleman, sitting in his Royal High- 
ness's private box, and laughing very heartily at the piece. 
Upon his coming off the stage about the middle of the panto- 
mime, he found Sir Godfrey waiting for him. 

" Hard work, Grimaldi !" 

"Hard and hot, Sir Godfrey !" 

" Have a pinch of snuff, Grimaldi," said Sir Godfrey : " it 
will refresh you," With this he produced from behind him, 
where he had been holding it, the largest snuff-box Grimaldi 
had ever beheld. The sight of it amused him much. Sir 
Godfrey laughed and said, " Take it to that gentleman," 
pointing to the pantaloon, who was on the stage, "and see if 
he would like a pinch." 

Grimaldi willingly complied, and having shortly afterwards 
to enact a foppish scene, swaggered about the stage, ostenta- 
tiously displaying this huge box, which from its enormous size 
really looked like a caricature made expressly for the purpose, 
and offered a pinch to the pantaloon with all that affectation of 
politeness in which he was so ludicrous. The audience laughed 
at its gigantic size, and the pantaloon, looking suspiciously at 
him, demanded, 

" Where did you get this box r" 

To this, affecting modest reserve and diffidence, he made no 
answer, but turned away his head. 

" You've stolen it !" continued Pantaloon. 

This the injured Clown strongly denied upon his honour, with 
many bows and slides, and averred it was a gift. 

" Given to you !" cried the Pantaloon : " and pray, who gave 
it to you ?" 

In answer to this, he pointed significantly to the box whither 
Sir Godfrey had retired, and the merriment which this occa- 
sioned was great indeed. The Duke, to whom, as he discovered 
afterwards, the box belonged, was convulsed with laughter ; nor 
were the gentlemen with him less merry, while the audience, 
either suspecting that some joke was afloat, or being amused at 
the scene, joined in the hearty laughter emanating from the 
royal box. 

" Where are you going to take the box ?" asked Pantaloon, as 
he turned to go off. 

"Where it has often been before," cried Grimaldi, pointing 
upwards : " to my uncle's !" And so saying, he ran off the stage 
amid a fresh burst of merriment. 

Sir Godfrey was with him in two minutes. Whether he 


thought the box was really in danger of being so disposed of, is 
uncertain, but he popped round behind the scenes as quickly as 

"Capital, Grimaldi!" he cried, still laughing; "you have 
won me a wager so ought to go snacks in it ;" and he slipped 
five guineas into his hand. 

"So, so," said the Duke of York, who, unperceived by 
Grimaldi, had followed his friend ; " this is the way stakes are 
divided, eh? I'll tell you what, Sir Godfrey, although Mr. 
Grimaldi is not a porter, I entertain no doubt that he would 
carry your box for you every evening upon such terms as 

Having vented this joke, his Eoyal Highness returned to his 
box. As he was not often behind the scenes at the theatre, this 
was, with one exception, the only time Grimaldi encountered 



1818 to 1823. 

Profit and Loss. Appearance of his Son at Covent Garden. His last engage- 
ment at Sadler's Wells. Accommodation of the Giants in the Dublin Pavi- 
lion. Alarming state of his health. His engagement at the Coburg. The 
liberality of Mr. Harris. Eapid decay of Grimaldi's constitution, his great 
sufferings, and last performance at Covent Garden. He visits Cheltenham 
and Birmingham with great success. Colonel Berkeley, Mr. Charles Kemble, 
and Mr. Bunn. 

BY his six weeks' excursion in 1818, Grinialdi cleared 682?. 12*. 
but the^ disastrous result of the Sadler's "Wells season, and th" 
expenditure of ready money in the purchase of his shares, swal- 
lowed up nearly the whole of his gains in the provinces so that 
notwithstanding his great success and the enormous sums he 
had so recently acquired, the autumn of 1818 found him still 
poor, and entirely dependent on his salary for support. He 
looked forward, however, to the next season at Sadler's Wells, 
in the hope that some success might repay a portion of the money 
he had already lost. 
The opening of Sadler's Wells* was attended by many 

* Sadler's Wells opened on Easter Monday, April 12, 1819, with a pantomime, 
the scenes selected from successful harlequinades at that theatre, commencing 
with the opening from that of the " Talking Bird ;" Clown, Mr. Grimaldi, with a 
new song, " HOT CODLINS,'' composed by Mr. Whitaker; Columbine, Miss 
Tree, from the Theatre Eoyal, Drury Lane. On April 19, the " Great Devil" 
was revived ; Nicola, Mr. Grimaldi ; the Lady Matilda, Miss Tree : and on Whit 
Monday, May 31, the new harlequinade, called " The Fates, or Harlequin's Holi- 
day," was produced under Grimaldi's immediate direction. He played the 
Clown ; Bologna, as Harlequin, made his first appearance that evening, after a 
ten years' absence ; Barnes, Pantaloon ; the ever juvenile Widdicomb played the 
West Indian; and Columbine, Miss Tree. On the same night, at Covent 
Garden, "Mother Goose" was revived, with additional scenes from " Harlequin 
Munchausen," " Gulliver," and " Whittington." Ellar was the Harlequin, and 
Grimaldi had to play at both theatres in the two pieces. The pantomime was 
played at Covent Garden on July 19th, the last night of the season, by the ex- 
press desire of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The pantomime of " Harle- 
quin's Holiday" continued uninterruptedly till August 9th, when it was an- 
nounced it would be withdrawn for a short tune, to re-embellish the scenery, ma- 
chinery, and dresses, and would then be re-produced with additional scenes. On 
August 2, Grimaldi sustained Friday in the burletta of the " Bold Buccaneers," 
which was successfully repeated during the season. The Duke and Duchess, 
pleased with Grimaldi's performance at Covent Garden, visited Sadler's Wells, 
on August 27th. On September 13th, Grimaldi played Scaramouch, in " Don 
Juan ;" Donna Anna, Miss Tree ; when the bills announced a change of entertain- 
ments on the Monday following, September 20th, for the benefit of Mr, Grimaldi. 


difficulties and embarrassments. Only ten days before the 
commencement of the season, Mr. Charles Dibdin suddenly 
relinquished his post of acting stage-manager, and was with 
great difficulty prevailed upon to make the necessary arrange- 
ments for the first week. As he left the theatre at Whitsuntide, 
and nobody could be found to supply his place, Grimaldi was 
obliged to fill it himself, and to relinquish, though with great 
unwillingness, his summer excursion, with all its advantages. 
He produced a new pantomime of his own invention, called 
" The Fates," which ran the whole of the season, and drew very 
good houses. The result was, that when the books were made 
up at the end of the season, each of the proprietors had some- 
thing to receive ; which was a very agreeable improvement on 
the untoward prospects with which the preceding year had 

Gradually, but surely, during the whole of this year Grimaldi 
felt his health sinking, and heavy and painful infirmities creep- 
ing upon him. He learnt, when it was too late, that if at this 
time he had retired from the profession, and devoted one or two 
years to relaxation and quiet, his constitution would in all pro- 
bability have rallied, and he would have been enabled to resume 
his usual occupations, with every hope of being long able to 
perform them, instead of being compelled, as he eventually was, 
to quit the stage when he was little more than forty years old. 

The Christmas pantomime at Covent Garden was "Harlequin 
Don Quixote," which was not quite so successful as the panto- 
mimes at that house usually had been, although Grimaldi 

flayed Sancho Panza in the opening, and afterwards Clown. 
ts success was so equivocal, that another pantomime, called 
" Harlequin and Cinderella," was produced in April ; but it had 
no greater success that its predecessor, for it went off but indif- 
ferently, and did not run long. ^ Having a few nights to spare 
in March, he accepted a theatrical invitation from Lynn in 
Norfolk, where he acted four nights and received one hundred 
and sixty pounds. 

At Saaler's Wells a new system had been acted upon. The 
authorities being greatly puzzled in the choice of a stage- 
manager, and having received an offer from Mr. Howard Payne 
to take the theatre for one season at a certain rental, agreed to 
let it. Mr. Howard Payne commenced his campaign at Easter,* 
2nd a most unprofitable one it proved, for he lost a considerable 

* Sadler's Wells opened under the management of Mr. Howard Payne on 
Easter Monday, April 3, 1820, with the best playing company ever assembled 
within its walls. The stage business was arranged by Grimaldi; and in the first 
piece, the pantomime of " Goody Two Shoes," Bologna played Harlequin ; 
Grimaldi, Clown ; Barnes, Pantaloon ; Farmer, with a song, Mr. Wood, the 
husltand of Miss Paton, afterwards Lady Lennox; Columbine, Miss Yallancey. 
On Whit Monday, May 22, was produced a splendid Persian Pantomime, entitled 
" The Yellow Pwarf ; or, Harlequin King of the Golden Mines ;" Harlequin, 


sum of money, as did the proprietors also, and Grimaldi not 
unnaturally began to be weary of the speculation. As both his 
benefits, however, were bumpers, he left the theatre in good 
spirits in the month of September,* to fulfil an engagement at 
Dublin, little dreaming at the time, that with the exception of 
Ms farewell night, he was destined never again to act upon the 
Sadler's Wells stage. 

Grimaldi's travelling companions were Ellar and his son, all 
three being engaged by Mr. Harris to act at his theatre in 
Dublin, and receiving permission to absent themselves from 
Covent Garden for that express purpose. Since his last journey 
to the Irish capital in 1805, roads and coaches had improved, 
and steam-packets had supplied the place of the old sailiiig- 
boats, so that they reached their destination in half the time 
which the same journey had occupied before. 

The theatre in which they were to act was called the Pavilion, 
and had formerly been an assembly-room. It was perfectly 
round, and very ill adapted for dramatic representations ; the 
stage room, too, was so inconvenient, and they were so pressed 
for want of space, that when " Harlequin Gulliver" was in pre- 
paration, they were at a loss where to put the Brobdignagians. 
These figures were so very cumbersome and so much in the way, 
that the men who sustained the parts were at last obliged to be 
dressed and put away in an obscure corner before the curtain 
was raised, whence they were brought forward when wanted 

Mr. Bologna; Columbine, Miss Vallancey ; Pantaloon, Mr. Barnes; Grim, after- 
wards Clown, with a song, " London Cheats, or there never was such Times," 
by Grimaldi: the Yellow Dwarf, afterwards Yellow Harlequin, Mr. Guerint; 
Ubrino, his attendant Genie, afterwards Yellow Clown, Mr. Grimaldi, Junior, 
his first appearance this season. On July 3, was revived the pantomime of " Don 
Juan;" Don Juan, Mr. Bologna; Scaramouch, Mr. Grimaldi, with the song of 
" Tippitywitchet ;" Donna Anna, Miss Vallancey. Grimaldi's benefit, Thursday, 
July 27th, presented a crowded house : the entertainments were, " Kaloc ; or, the 
Slave Pirate;" Kaloc, by Mr. Grimaldi; " Ko and Zoa," in which Bologna 
played Ko, Grimaldi, Ravin; and the "Yellow Dwarf;" and the applause with 
which they were received induced a repetition on the two following nights. 
"Raymond and Agnes" was revived on August 7, when Grimaldi played 
Robert the Bandit. 

* On Howard Payne's night, October 5th, after T. Dibdin's melodrama of 
" Douglas," followed a harlequinade, compiled by Grimaldi from the best scenes 
of the last popular pantomimes, entitled " Scraps ; or, Fun for the Gallery." 
Bologna, Guerint, Grimaldi, Young Grimaldi, Barnes, and Miss Vallancey per- 
formed the parts ; and the bills stated that, on this occasion, Mr. Grimaldi would 
appear for the last time this season, and introduce one of his most celebrated 
comic songs, and with Mr. Bologna a grotesque dance, the Pas-de-Deux from 
" Mother Goose." C. M. Westmacott, who was scene-painter and composer of 
the pantomimes this season at Sadler's "Wells, had also a benefit on October llth, 
the bills for which invitingly asked the reader, "Will you come for nothing?" 
the prices of admission were as usual ; but to every person in the boxes and pit 
was presented an excellent portrait of Grimaldi, engraved after Wageman's 
drawing, by Blood; and to every person in the gallery a book of the songs of 
the evening. 


upon the stage, and into which they were obliged to retreat 
wnen they had no more to do, and to remain there as quietly as 
they could, until the pantomime was over, there being actually 
no room to get them out of their cases. The dresses and 
makings-up were very cumbrous and inconvenient ; but as no 
other mode of proceeding presented itself, the unfortunate 
giants were obliged to make the best of a bad bargain, and to 
remain in a great state of perspiration and fatigue until they 
could be reduced to the level of ordinary men. Grimaldi pitied 
the poor fellows so much, that after the first night's performance 
was over, he thought right to represent to them that no relief 
could be afforded, and to ask whether they could make up their 
minds to endure so much labour for the future. 

" Well, then," said the spokesman of the party, " we have 
talked it over together, and we have agreed to do it every night, 
if jour honour long life to you ! will only promise to do one 
thing for us ; and that is, just to let us have a leetle noggin of 
whisky after the green rag comes down." 

This moderate request was readily complied with, and the 
giants behaved themselves exceedingly well, and never got 

The party stayed seven weeks at Dublin. Grimaldi made a 
great deal of money by the trip, and realized by his benefit 
alone, two hundred pounds. 

Between September, 1820, when Covent Garden re-opened, 
and Christmas, when the new pantomime was brought forward, 
Grimaldi frequently appeared as Kasrac in " Aladdin ;" nor did 
his increasing infirmities render his performance more painful 
or wearisome than usual. The pantomime was called "Har- 
lequin and Friar Bacon," and was exceedingly successful, as it 
was received with great approbation, and was repeated for fifty- 
two nights. This season his son was for the first time regularly 
engaged at Covent Garden.* He played Fribble in the opening, 
and afterwards the Lover, (a character which has now become 
obsolete,) and bade fair to become a great public favourite. 

Sadler's Wells was let at Easter, 1821, for the ensuing three 
seasons, to Mr. Egerton, well known to the public as a performer 

* Young Joe made his first appearance at Covent Garden, as Chittaque, a 
little-footed Chinese Empress, with a big body, afterwards Clowny-chip, in the 
pantomime of " Harlequin and Fortunio," on December 26, 1815. Young Joe, 
as Adonis Fribble, in " Harlequin and Friar Bacon," was an admirable lover of 
the dandy kind ; Ellar, Barnes, and Miss E. Dennett maintained the usual 
ascendancy of pantomime at this theatre; but the greatest merit characterised 
Grimaldi, whose Clown seemed to carry all before it. His parody on the dagger- 
scene in " Macbeth," and his duet with the oyster, elicited unequivocal plaudits. 
Most truly did Theodore Hook observe " The Covent Garden pantomime ia 
excellent. The strength of Grimaldi, the Garrick of Clowns, seems, like that of 
wine, to increase with age ; his absurdities are admirable. There is a life and 
spirit about the whole arrangement of this species of entertainment here, which 
is calculated not only to bewitch the little Masters and Misse>3, but aven to amua 
the children of larger growth." 


at Covent Garden. He and Grimaldi had been very good 
friends for many years ; but some clauses being introduced into 
his agreement for hiring the theatre which Grimaldi as a pro- 
prietor so strongly disapproved that he refused to affix his sig- 
nature to the document, a coolness took place between them 
which was never afterwards removed. Notwithstanding this 
difference, he always continued to entertain a high respect for 
Egerton, who was greatly liked by his friends and the profession 
generally, and who had been at one period of his career a much 
better actor than the play- goers of the present day remember 
him. This gentleman was afterwards connected with Mr. 
Abbott in the management of the Victoria Theatre, in which 
speculation they both sustained considerable losses. Both are 
since dead. 

On the 23rd of April, Farley produced ^ his melodrama of 
*' Undine; or, the Spirit of the Waters," in which Grimaldi 
sustained a new character.* 

In the autumn, Ellar, Grimaldi, and his son again repaired 
to Dublin, making a stay of five weeks at the Birmingham 
Theatre,t which was then in the hands of Mr. Bunn. Here 
they got up the pantomime of " Friar Bacon," which was played 
to excellent houses for twenty-four nights. Mr. Bunn behaved 
on this occasion, as Grimaloi states ne did upon every other 
in which he was concerned, with great liberality, allowing him 
a salary of twenty pounds per week, and the son nine pounds 
per week, independent of half a clear benefit, the profits of 
which were great. J 

At Dublin, " Friar Bacon" was played twenty-nine nights 
out of the thirty- two for which Grimaldi and his party were 
engaged, and the pieces were so successful, that it would have 
been the interest of all parties to prolong their engagements, if 

* Kuhlebom, the Water-King, Mr. Farley ; Gybliu, the Goblin Sprite, subject 
to the power of Kuhleborn, Mr. Grimaldi; Undine, Misa E. Dennett. 

t During this stay at Birmingham, Grimaldi had his portrait painted by S. 
Haven, on a papier-mache box, circular in form and of large size. The re- 
semblance was so satisfactory, that he had it copied, and brought away in all 
six boxes, which he presented to friends, not retaining one for himself. 

J In another part of the data upon which these Memoirs are founded, Grimaldi 
has the following remarks concerning this gentleman, which, as he appears to 
have been anxious that they should obtain publicity, the Editor subjoins in his 
own words : " A great deal has been said about, and indeed against, Mr. Bunn, 
since he has become a London manager ; but I have had many opportunities of 
observing him and his mode of doing business, and I feel satisfied that he has 
most liberal notions, and would ii it were in his power amply recompense 
according to their talents any artiste employed by him. I beg it may be under- 
stood that in this remark I do not allude in any way to myself; for, patting 
aside every consideration of what my talents might have been, my name alone 
stood so high as to ensure a full house at Birmingham : I speak from what I 
know of his conduct with regard to others ; and if ever his industry meets with 
the success it deserves, I feel certain that the liberality of disposition which I 
hare spoken of will be displayed in a commensurate degree." 


the arrangements at Covent Garden had admitted of their doing 
so. It was at this period that, with an agony of mind perfectly 
indescribable, Grimaldi found his health giving way by alarming 
degrees beneath the ravages of premature old age. On the 
eighteenth night of their performance in Dublin, he became so 
ill that he was obliged to throw up his part at a very short 
notice, and to send immediately for medical aid. He was at- 
tended by one of the most eminent physicians in Dublin, and 
under his treatment recovered sufficiently to be enabled to 
resume his character in about a week. But he felt, although he 
could not bear to acknowledge it even to himself, that his resto- 
ration to health was only temporary, that his strength was 
rapidly failing him, that his limbs grew weaker, and his frame 
became more shaken every succeeding day, and that utter de- 
crepitude, with its long train of miseries and privations, was 
coming upon him. His presentiments were but too fully 
realized, but the realization of his worst fears came upon him 
with a rapidity which even he, conscious as he was of all the 
symptoms, had never deemed possible. 

The successful sojourn of the party at Dublin at length drew 
to a close, as it was necessary that they should return to London 
to be in readiness for the pantomime. On the 6th of December, 

1821, they bade farewell to Ireland, and after a most boisterous 
voyage landed at Holyhead, whence they posted in haste to 
town, and the day after their arrival began the rehearsals for 
Christmas. In his ill state of health, Grimaldi was terribly 
shaken by the journey home and the sea-sickness, and felt worse 
in point of general health than he had yet done. 

The pantomime was " The Yellow Dwarf."* Although the 
performers began to rehearse at an unusually late period, its 
success was perfect; but, notwithstanding it ran forty-four 
nights, Grimaldi never thought it a favourite with the public. 
He himself played the Yellow Dwarf, and his son played a part 
called " Guinea Pig." " Cherry and Fair Star" was revived at 

* The pantomime at Covent Garden Theatre, on December 26, 1821, was en- 
titled " Harlequin and Mother Bunch ; or, The Yellow Dwarf." The characters 
were : The King of the Gold Mines, afterwards Harlequin, Mr. Ellar ; Guinea 
Pig, afterwards Harlequin's lacquey, Mr. J. S. Grimaldi ; Yellow Dwarf, after- 
wards Clown, Mr. Grimaldi; the Princess Allfair, afterwards Columbine, Miss 
E. Dennett ; and the Queen of Golconda, a lady with a ruby nose, afterwards 
Pantaloon, Mr. Barnes. 

Grimaldi, for the benefit of Mr. T. Dibdin, at the Surrey Theatre, March 26, 

1822, played his old part of Squire Bugle, in "Mother Goose," Eidgway being 
the Harlequin. On Easter Monday, April 8th, the melo-dramatic romance of 
" Cherry and Fair Star ; or, the Children of Cyprus," was produced at Covent 
Garden. Fair Star was played by Miss Foote, now Countess of Harrington ; 
Gnmaldi enacted Topac, the slave of the Greek Captain. This piece for 
splendour surpassed every other production at that theatre ; the accompaniments 
were of the first description, and the looking-glaas scene presented a gorgeous 


Easter, in consequence of its great success in the previous 
season, and answered the purpose extremely well. 

During the whole of this summer Grimaldi's health gradually 
6ut steadily declined. Sometimes there were slight fluctuations 
for the better, in which he felt so much improved as to fancy 
that his strength was beginning to return ; and although the 
next day's decay and lassitude showed but too clearly that they 
were but brief intervals of strength, he fondly regarded these 
red-letter days as tokens of a real and permanent change for 
the better. Perhaps even now, as he had nothing to do at 
Sadler's Wells, and was too unwell to accept country engage- 
ments, if he had remained quiet during the Covent Garden 
recess, lived with great regularity, and acted upon the best 
medical advice, he might have retained for many years longer 
some portion of his health and spirits. But Mr. Glossop, who 
was then the lessee of the Coburg Theatre (now the Victoria), 
made him an offer which he could not resist, and he acted there 
for six weeks,* at a considerable sum per week and a free 
benefit. The engagement turned out so profitable a one for the 
management, that he might have renewed it for the same space 
of time, if he had not become too ill to appear upon the stage. 

* Grimaldi's performances commenced at the Coburg, on Monday, July 1st, 
1822, in a pantomime, comprising a selection of the most successful scenes from 
various harlequinades of the last fifteen years, called " Salmagundi; or, the 
Clown's Dish of all Sorts !" produced under Grimaldi's directions. The scenery 
painted by Stanfield and his assistants. Harlequin, Mr. Ho well; Pantaloon, 
Mr. Barnes, his first appearance in that theatre ; Lover, Mr. Widdicomb ; 
Clown, Mr. Grimaldi ; Columbine, Madame Le Clercq. This lasted six nights ; 
on the 8th, the pantomime of " Harlequin and the Three Wishes ; or, Puck and 
the Black Puddings ;" the pantomimists as in the former piece. On Monday, 
July 15th, commenced the third week of Grimaldi's engagement, in a new 
pantomime called " Disputes in China; or, Harlequin and the Kong Merchants !" 
the scenery painted from views taken in China, by Stanfield. J. S. Grimaldi 
made his first appearance at the Coburg this evening. Joe and his son 
sustained the characters of the two clowns incidental to the piece. In the scene 
of the Whampoa river, Joe affected to astonish John China-man with his son j 
of " Hot Codlins." The bill of Monday, July 22, was underlined to the effect 
that, in consequence of the continuous and dangerous indisposition of Mr. 
Grimaldi, the pantomime was unavoidably postponed. Gilderoy, in the melo- 
drama of that name, was this night played by Mr. J. H. Chapman, from the 
Surrey Theatre : it had been previously played by Henry Kemble, but the 
irregularities and drunkenness of this man were unpardonable : he was the 
instigator of young Joe's follies and misconduct ; latterly they were inseparable, 
and which was the worst of the two was hard to be decided. Henry Kemble 
had been employed to supply Huntley's vacancy, caused by illness ; but he 
could scarcely be retained a fortnight, and was dismissed. 

On the 29th, Grimaldi was so far recovered that he resumed his part of Clown 
in the "Disputes in China." The bills announced his re-appearance as "posi- 
tively the last six nights of his performing ;" and a further intimation, which was 
really a matter of fact : " It is particularly recommended to those families who 
have not witnessed the inimitable acting of Mr. Grimaldi and his son, Mr. J. S. 
Grimaldi, that they should secure places as soon as possible, much disappoint- 
ment having been experienced by parties coming late and finding the boxes 
filled from the overflowing of the pit." Grimaldi sang on these last six nights 
his two most popular songs, " Tippitywitchet" and " Hot Codlins." Hia last 
night was August 3, and concluded the four weeks of his engagement. 


At this crisis of his disorder Grimaldi was advised to try the 
Cheltenham waters. He went to Cheltenham in August, and 
being somewhat recovered by the change of air, consented to act 
for 1'arley and Abbott, who had taken the theatre on specula- 
tion, for twelve nights. He cleared 150. ; and whether this 
sum of money, or the waters, or the change of scene revived 
him is uncertain, but he felt greatly improved in health when 
he returned to London for the opening of Covent Garden, to 
commence what ultimately proved to be his last season at that 

" Harlequin and the Ogress ; or, the Sleeping Beauty," was 
the pantomime of the season. The rehearsals went off very 
briskly, and the piece, when it was produced, met with the 
success which generally attended the production of pantomimes 
at that house. Nothing, indeed, could exceed the liberality 
displayed by Mr. Harris in getting up this species of entertain- 
ment ; to which circumstance, in a great measure, the almost 
uniform success of the pantomimes may be attributed. This 
spirit was not confined to the stage and its appointments, but 
was also extended in an unusual degree to the actors. Every 
suggestion was readily listened to, and as readily acted upon, 
if it appeared at all reasonable : every article of dress was pro- 
vided at the expense of the management ; the principal actors 
were allowed a pint of wine each, every night the pantomime 
was played, and on the evening of its first representation they 
were invited to a handsome dinner at the Piazza Coftee-house, 
whither they all repaired directly the rehearsal was over. At 
these dinners Earley took the chair, while Brandon acted as 
vice ; and there is no doubt that they materially contributed to 
the success of the pantomimes. There can be no better means 
of securing the hearty good- will and co-operation of the parties 
employed in undertakings of this or any other description than 
treating them in a spirit of generosity and courtesy. 

In this pantomime Grimaldi played a part with the very 
pantomimic name of " Grimgribber ;" and that sustained by 
his son was expressively described in the bills as " Whirligig." 
It ran until nearly the following Easter, when anew melodrama 
by Farley appeared, called "The Vision of the Sun; or, the 
Orphan of Peru." 

In this piece, which came out on the 23rd of March, 1823, 
Grimaldi played a prominent character ; but even during the 
earlier nights of its very successful representation, he could 
scarcely struggle through his part. His frame was weak and 
debilitated, his joints stiff, and his muscles relaxed ; every 
effort he made was followed by cramps and spasms of the most 
agonizing nature. Men were obliged to be kept waiting at the 
side-scenes, who caught him in their arms when he staggered 
from the stage, and supported him, whUe others chafed his 



limbs, which was obliged to be incessantly done until he was 
called for the next scene, or he could not have appeared again. 
Every time he came off, his sinews were gathered up into huge 
knots by the cramps that followed his exertions, which could 
only be reduced by violent rubbing, and even that frequently 
failed to produce the desired effect. The spectators, who were 
convulsed with laughter while he was on the stage, little thought 
that while their applause was Resounding through the house, he 
was suffering the most excruciating and horrible pains. But so 
it was until the twenty-fourth night of the piece, when he had 
no alternative, in consequence of his intense sufferings, but to 
throw up the part- 
On the preceding night, although every possible remedy was 
tried, he could scarcely drag himself through the piece ; and on 
this occasion it was only with the most extreme difficulty and 
by dint of extraordinary physical exertion and agony, that he 
could conclude the performance, when he was carried to his 
dressing-room exhausted and powerless. 

Here, when his bodily anguish had in some measure subsided, 
he began to reflect seriously on his sad condition. And when 
he remembered how long this illness had been hovering about 
him, how gradually it had crept over his frame, and subdued 
his energies, with what obstinacy it had baffled the skill of the 
most eminent medical professors, and how utterly his powers 
had wasted away beneath it, he came to the painful conviction 
that his professional existence was over. Enduring from this 
terrible certainty a degree of anguish, to which all his bodily 
sufferings were as nothing, he covered his face with his hands 
and wept like a child. The next morning he sent word to the 
theatre that he was disabled by illness from performing. 

His son studied the part in one day, and played it that night 
with considerable success. The piece was performed forty-four 
nights during the season ; but although he afterwards rallied a 
little, he never attempted to resume the part. In spite of all 
his sufferings, which were great, and a settled foreboding that 
his course was run, it was some years before hope deserted him : 
and for a long time, from day to day he encouraged hopes of 
being at some future period able to resume the avocations in 
which he had spent his life. 

Grimaldi repaired again, in the month of August, to Chelten- 
ham, recollecting that it had had some beneficial effect on his 
health in the previous year. During his stay, he so far recovered 
as to be enabled to play a few nights at the theatre, then under 
the management of Mr. Parley. Here he encountered Mr. 
Bunn, who informed him that Mr. Charles Kemble was then 
starring at Birmingham, and that Colonel Berkeley having 
promised to play for his benefit, he had come over to Cheltenham 
to ascertain what part the Colonel would wish to play. Mr. 
Bonn added, that he was there as much for the purpose of seeing 


Grimaldi as with any other object, as he wanted him to put a 
little money into both their purses, by playing a few nights at 
Birmingham. Grimaldi declined at first, but being pressed, and 
tempted by Mr. Bunn's offer, consented to act for two nights 
only, the receipts, whatever they might happen to be, to be 
divided between them. 

It was Mr. Charles Kemble's benefit night when he and his 
son arrived at Birmingham ; and as that gentleman was a great 
favourite there, as indeed he was everywhere throughout his 
brilliant career, Grimaldi entertained some fears that the circum- 
stance would prove prejudicial to his interests. He sought a 
few moments' conversation with Mr. Kemble in the course of 
the evening, and informed him that his son had received an 
offer of eight pounds per week from the Drury Lane Manage- 
ment, but that rather than he should leave Covent Garden 
Theatre, with which his father had now been connected so long, 
and where he had experienced so much liberality, he was ready 
to accept an engagement there at six pounds per week, if agree- 
able to the proprietors. 

"Joe," said Mr. Charles Kemble, "your offer is a very hand- 
some one, and I agree to it at once. Your son is now engaged 
with us on the terms you have mentioned." 

They shook hands and parted. Grimaldi strolled into the 
green-room, and there met Colonel Berkeley, who, after a short 
conversation, said that he very much wished to play Yalentine 
to his Orson : to which Grimaldi replied, it would give him 
great pleasure to afford him the opportunity whenever he felt 

"Very well," said Colonel Berkeley, "then we will consider 
the matter settled. As soon as you have done here, you must 
come to Cheltenham for one night. I will make all necessary 
arrangements with Farley : your son shall play the Green 
Knight, and I will give you one hundred pounds as a remunera- 
tion. We will try what we can do together, Joe, to amuse the 

Grimaldi had not intended to act again after his Birmingham 
engagement, until the production of the Christmas pantomime 
at Covent Garden ; but seeing that Colonel Berkeley was anxious 
to effect the arrangement, and feeling grateful for the liberality 
of his offer, he pledged himself without hesitation to accept his 
terms. The play was never done, however, by these three per- 
formers, for Grimaldi' s theatrical career was over. 

The night after Mr. Charles Kemble's benefit, Grimaldi pro- 
duced a little pantomime of his own, called "Puck and the 
Puddings." The hit was so complete, and the sensation he 
excited so great, that he felt^nlinitely better than he had done 
for a long time, and was, indeed, so greatly restored that he 
was induced to accept an engagement for one additional night, 
the success of which equalled it could not excel that of the 

Q 2 


two previous evenings. When the curtain fell on the third 
night, Mr. Bunn presented him with 186/. 12s. as his share of 
the profits, accompanied with many wishes for his speedy and 
perfect restoration to health, which Grrimaldi himself, judging 
from his unwonted spirit and vigour, cheerfully hoped might be 
yet in store for him. 

These hopes were never to be realized : the enthusiastic recep- 
tion he had met with unusually enthusiastic even for him, 
had roused him for a brief period, and called forth aR his former 
energies only to hasten their final prostration. With the excep- 
tion of his two farewell benefits, this was his last appearance, 
his final exit from the boards he had trodden from a child, the 
last occasion of his calling forth those peals of merriment and 
approbation which, cheerfully as they sounded to him, had been 
surely ringing his death-knell for many ye**. 



1823 to 1827. 

His great afflictions augmented by the dissipation and recklessness of Ms Son 
He is compelled to retire from Covent Garden Theatre, and is succeeded by 
him New Speculation at Sadler's Wells Changes in the System of Manage, 
ment, and their results Sir James Scarlett and a blushing Witness. 

FROM the period at which we have now arrived, down to within 
a year or so of his death, Grimaldi experienced little or nothing 
but one constant succession of afflictions and calamities, the 
pressure of which nearly bowed him to the earth; afflictions 
which it is painful to contemplate, and a detailed account of 
which would be neither instructive nor entertaining. A tale of 
unmitigated suffering, even when that suffering be mental, 
possesses but few attractions for the reader ; but when, as in 
this case, a large portion of it is physical, it loses even the few 
attractions which the former would possess, and grows abso- 
lutely distasteful. Bearing these circumstances in mind, we 
shall follow Grimaldi's example in this particular, and study in 
the remaining pages of his life to touch as lightly as we can 
upon the heavy catalogue of his calamities, and to lay no 
unnecessary stress upon this cheerless portion of his existence. 

Grimaldi slept at .Birmingham the night after his closing 
performance, and on the following morning returned to Chelten- 
ham, where he was attacked by a severe and alarming illness, 
which for more than a month confined him to his bed, whence 
he rose at last a cripple for life. 

Independent of these sufferings of the body, he had to en- 
counter mental afflictions of no ordinary kind. He was devotedly 
attached to his son, who was his only child, for whom he had 
always entertained the most anxious solicitude, whom he had 
educated at a great expense, and upon whom a considerable 
portion of the earnings of his best days had been most liberally 
bestowed. Up to this time he had well repaid all the care and 
solicitude of his parents : he had risen gradually in the esti- 
mation of the public, had increased every year in prosperity, 
and still remained at home his father's friend and companion. 
It is matter of pretty general notoriety that the young man ran 
a reckless and vicious course, and in time so shocked and dis- 
gusted even those who were merely brought into contact with 


him at the theatre for a few hours in a night, that it was found 
impossible to continue his engagements. 

The first notification his father received of his folly and ex- 
travagance was during their stay at Cheltenham, when one 
morning, shortly after he had risen from his sick-bed, he was 
waited upon by one of the town authorities, who informed him. 
that his son was then locked up for some drunken freaks com- 
mitted overnight. He instantly paid everything that was 
demanded, and procured his release; but in some skirmish 
with the constables he had received a severe blow on the head 
from a staff, which, crushing his hat, alighted on the skull 
and inflicted a desperate wound. It is supposed that this 
unfortunate event disordered his intellects, as from that time, 
instead of the kind and affectionate son he had previously been, 
he became a wild and furious savage ; he was frequently 
attacked with dreadful fits of epilepsy, and continually com- 
mitted actions which nothing but madness could prompt. In 
1828, he had a decided attack of insanity, and was confined in a 
strait- waistcoat in his father's house for some time. As no dis- 
order of mind had appeared in him before, and as his miserable 
career may be dated from this ^time, it is not unreasonable to 
suppose that the wound he received at Cheltenham was among 
the chief causes of his short-lived delirium. 

They returned to London together, and for the next three 
months Grimaldi consulted the most eminent medical men in 
the hope of recovering some portion of his lost health and 
strength. During that time he suffered an intensity of anxiety 
which it is difficult to conceive, as their final decision upon the 
remotest probability of his recovery was postponed from day to 
day. All their efforts were in yain, however. Towards the end 
of October, he received a final intimation that it was useless for 
him to nourish any hope of recovering the use of his limbs, and 
that although nature, assisted by great care on his part and the 
watchfulness of his medical attendants, might certainly alleviate 
some of his severe pains, his final recovery was next to impos- 
sible, and he must make up his mind to relinquish every thought 
of resuming the exercise of his profession. 

Among the gentlemen to whose kindness and attention he was 
greatly indebted in this stage of his trials, were, Sir Astley 
Cooper, Sir Matthew Tierney, Mr. Abernethy, Dr. Farr, Dr. 
Temple, Dr. Uwins, Dr. Mitchell, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Jamea 
Wilson. To all these gentlemen he was personally unknown ; 
but they all attended him gratuitously, and earnestly requested 
him to apply to them without reserve upon every occasion 
when it was at all likely that they could be of the slightest 

It was with no slight despair that Grimaldi received the 
announcement that for the rest of his days he was a cripple, 
Dossibly the constant inmate of a sick room, and that he had 


not even a distant prospect of resuming the occupations to 
which he had been attached from his cradle, and from which he 
was enabled up to this time to realize an annual income of 
fifteen hundred pounds: and all this without any private 
fortune or resources, with the exception of his shares in Sadler's 
Wells Theatre, which had hitherto proved a dead loss. For 
some hours after this opinion of his medical men had been com- 
municated to him, he sat stupified with the heaviness of the 
calamity, and fell into a state of extreme mental distress, from 
which it was a long time before he was thoroughly roused. As 
soon as he could begin to exercise his reason, he recollected that 
it was a duty he owed his employers to inform them of his ina- 
bility to retain his situation at Covent Garden, the more espe- 
cially as it was time they made some arrangements for the 
ensuing Christmas pantomime. Accordingly he sent a note to 
the theatre, acquainting them with his _ melancholy condition, 
and the impossibility of his fulfilling his articles, (which had 
only been entered into in the preceding January, and were for 
three years,) and recommending them to engage without loss of 
time some other individual to supply his place. 

The communication was received with much kindness, and 
many good wishes for his recovery. After several interviews 
and much consideration, it was resolved that his son, J. S 
Grimaldi, should be brought out as principal Clown in the 
ensuing Christmas pantomime. He appeared, for the first 
time* in that character, in the pantomime of " Harlequin and 
Poor Eobin, or the House that Jack built;" and his success 
was complete. His father sat in the front of the house on his 
first night, and was no less gratified by his reception in public, 
than by the congratulations which poured upon him when he 
went round to the stage and found everybody delighted with 
the result of the trial. The pantomime proved very successful ; 
it had an extended run, and the proprietors of the theatre, 
highly satisfied with the young man's success, with much 
liberality cancelled his existing articles, which were for 6J. per 
week, and entered into a new agreement by which they raised 
his salary to 81. To Grimaldi, also, they behaved in a most 
handsome manner ; for although his regular salary was, as a 
matter of course, stopped from, the day on which he communi- 
cated his inability to perform, they continued to allow him 5l. a 
week for the remainder of the season ; an act of much considera- 
tion and kindness on their part, and a far greater token of 
their recollection of his services than he had ever expected to 

The three years for which Egerton had taken Sadler's Wells 
having now expired, he was requested by the proprietors to 
state what views he entertained as to retaining or giving up the 

* On Friday, December 26, 1823. 


property. It being found impossible to comply with his terms, 
and a Mr. Williams,* wbo at that time had the Surrey, having 
made an offer for the theatre, they agreed to let it to him for one 
season. Soon after this agreement was entered into, Williams 
called upon Grimaldi one morning upon business, and in the 
course of the interview the latter inquired by what plan he 
proposed to make both theatres answer. 

" Why, Mr. Grimaldi," replied Williams, " if two theatres 
could be kept open at the same expense as one, and the company 
equally mind, I say equally good, don't you think it very 
likely that the speculation would succeed r" 

" Yes, 1 think it would," rejoined Grimaldi, doubtfully, for as 
yet he understood nothing of the manager's drift ; "I think it 

" And so do I," said the other ; " and that's the way I mean 
to manage. I mean to work the two theatres with one and the 
same company : I mean to employ one-half the company in the 
earlier part of the evening at Sadler's Wells, and then to transfer 
them to the Surrey, to finish there ; at that theatre I shall do 
precisely the same : and I am now having carriages built 
expressly to convey them backwards and forwards." 

This system, which has since been tried (without the carriages) 
at the two great houses, was actually put in practice. On 
Easter Monday, 1824, the carriages began to run, and the two 
seasons commenced. The speculation turned out as Grimaldi 
had anticipated a dead failure : the lessee lost some money 
himself, and got greatly into debt with the proprietors ; upon 
which, fearing to increase their losses, they took measures to 
recover possession of the theatre. When they obtained it, they 
were obliged to finish the season themselves ; by which, as they 
had never contemplated such a proceeding, and had made no 
preparations for it, they sustained a very considerable loss. 

The other occasion, referred to in a previous chapter, that 
Orimaldi had the honour of conversing with the Duke of York, 
was in 1824, when _ his Eoyal Highness took the chair at the 
Theatrical Fund dinner, and kindly inquiring after his health, 
of some one who sat near him, desired to see him. He was offi- 
ciating as one of the stewards, but was of course surprised at 
the Duke's wish, and immediately presented himself. He 
received him with great kindness, and hearing from his own 
lips that his infirmities had compelled him to relinquish the 
exercise of his profession, said, he was extremely sorry to hear 
him say so, but heartily trusted, notwithstanding, that he might 
recover yet, for his loss would be a "national calamity." He 
added, when Grimaldi expressed his acknowledgments, " I re- 
member your father well : he was a funny man, and taught me 

* Son of the proprietor of the well-known " Boiled Beef House" in the Old 


and some of my sisters to dance. If ever I can "be of any service 
to you, Grimaldi, call upon me freely." 

In this year Grimaldi was much troubled by pecuniary matters, 
and the conduct of his son. He was living on the few hundred 
pounds he had put by, selling out his stock^ spending the pro- 
ceeds, and consequently rising every morning a poorer man. 
His son, who had now a good salary and was rising in his pro- 
fession, suddenly left his home, and, to the heart-rending grief 
of his father and mother, abandoned himself to every species of 
wild debauchery and riot. His father wrote to him, imploring 
him to return, and offering to make every arrangement that 
could conduce to his comfort, but he never answered the letter, 
and kept on his headlong course. This shock was a heavy one 
indeed, and, in Grimaldi's weak and debilitated state, almost 
broke his heart. 

For four years Grimaldi never saw any more of his son, save 
occasionally on the stage of Sadler's Wells, where he was en- 
gaged at a salary of five pounds per week ; or when he met him 
in the street, when the son would cross over the road to get out 
of the way. Nor during all this time did he receive a single line 
from him, except in 1825. He had written to the young man, 
describing the situation to which he was reduced, and the 
poverty with which he was threatened, reminding him that be- 
tween the two theatres he was now earning thirteen pounds per 
week, and requesting his assistance with some pecuniary aid. 
To this application he at first returned no reply ; but several of 
Grimaldi's friends having expressed a very strong opinion to 
him on the subject, he at length returned the following note : 

" DEAR FATHEK, At present I am in difficulties ; but as 
long as I have a shilling, you shall have half.' 

This assurance looked well enough upon paper, but had no 
other merit ; for he never sent his father a farthing, nor did he 
again see him (save that he volunteered his services at two 
farewell benefits,) until he came to his door one night in 1828, 
and hardily claimed shelter and food. 

In 1825 the proprietors of Sadler's Wells resolved to open the 
theatre on their joint account, with which view they secured 
the services of Mr. T. Dibdin as acting-manager. It was 
determined at a meeting of proprietors, that it would be advan- 
lageous to the property if one of their number were resident on 
the premises to assist Mr. Dibdin, and regulate the expendi- 
ture. As Grimaldi had nothing to do, it was proposed in the 
kindest manner by Mr. Jones. * one of the shareholders, that he 
should fill the situation, at a salary of four pounds per week. 

* Mr. Jones married Mr. Keeve's only daughter, and thus became possessed 
of the share in the Sadler's Wells Theatre that had been purchased by that 
eminent musician. 


It need scarcely be said that lie accepted this proposal with, 
great gratitude. They commenced the season with much spirit, 
turning the old dwelling-house partly into wine-rooms accord- 
ing to the old fashion, and partly into a saloon, box-office, and 
passages. The dresses of the opening piece were of a gorgeous 
description, and every new play was got up with the same 
magnificence. They also determined to take half-price, which 
had never before been _ done at that house, and to play the 
twelve months through, instead of confining the season to six ; 
this last resolution originating in the immense growth of the 
neighbourhood around the theatre, which in Grimaldi's time 
had gradually been transformed from a pretty suburban spot 
into the maze of streets and squares and closely-clustered 
houses which it now presents. These arrangements were all 
very extensive and speculative ; but they overstepped the 
bounds of moderation in point of expense, and the season ended 
with a loss of 1,400Z. 

JSText^year they pursued a different plan, and reduced their 
expenditure in every department. This reduction was super- 
intended by Grimaldi, and the very first salary he cut down 
was his own, from which he struck off at once two pounds per 
week. They tried pony-races too in the area attached to the 
theatre, and, so variable is theatrical property, cleared a sum 
equal to their losses of the preceding year, between Easter and 
Whitsuntide alone. The following season* was also a success- 
ful one, and at length he began to think he should gain some- 
thing by the proprietorship. 

It was about this time, or rather before, that Grrimaldi was 
subpoenaed as a witness in an action between two theatrical 
gentlemen, of whom Mr. Glossop was one, when his smart 
parrying of a remark from a counsel engaged in the case occa- 
sioned much laughter in court. 

On his name being called, and his appearing in the witness- 
box, there was some movement in the court, which was very 
crowded, the people being anxious to catch a sight of a witness 
whose name was so familiar. Sir James Scarlett, f who was to 
examine him, rose as he made his appearance, and, looking at 
him with great real .or apparent interest, said, "Dear me! 
Pray, sir, are you the great Mr. Grimaldi, formerly of Covent 
Garden Theatre?" 

The witness felt greatly confused at this inquiry, especially 
as it seemed to excite to a still higher pitch the curiosity of the 
spectators. He reddened slightly, and replied, " I used to be a 
pantomime actor, sir, at Covent Garden Theatre." 

Young Joe had a benefit this season, on September 21, 1826, when Blanche's 
melo-drama, entitled, " The Caliph and the Cadi," was revived, and in order to 
introduce both father and son, a new scene and a duet were written by Mr. 
Dibdin at Grimaldi's desire; their appearance in the same piece produced 
considerable effect. 

t Afterwards Lord Abinger. 


*' Yes," said Sir James Scarlett, " I recollect you well. You 
are a very clever man, sir." He paused for a few seconds, and, 
looking up in his face, said, 

" And so you really are Grimaldi, are you ?" 
This ^vas more embarrassing than the other question, and 
Grimaldi feeling it so, fldgetted about in the box, and grew 
redder and redder. 

" Don't blush, Mr. Grimaldi, pray don't blush ; there is not 
the least occasion for blushing," said Sir James Scarlett. 

"I don't blush, sir," rejoined the witness. 

" I assure you, you need not blush so." 

'* I beg your pardon, sir, I really am not blushing," repeated 
the witness, who beginning to grow angry, repeated it with so 
red a face, that the spectators tittered aloud. 

" I assure you, Mr. Grimaldi," said Sir James Scarlett, 
smiling, "that you are blushing violently." 

" I beg your pardon, sir," replied Grimaldi, " but you are 
really quite mistaken. The flush which you observe on my 
face is a Scarlet one, I admit ; but I assure you that it is 
nothing more than a reflection from your own." 

The people in the court sliouted with laughter, and Sir James 
Scarlett joining in their mirth, proceeded without further 
remark with the business of the case, 




Great kindness of Miss Kelly towards Grimaldi His farewell benefit at Sadler's 
Wells ; last appearance and farewell address He makes preparations for one 
more appearance at Covent Garden, but, in a conversation with Mr. Charles 
Kemble, meets with a disappointmentIn consequence of Lord Segrave's 
benevolent interference, a benefit is arranged for him at Drury Lane His 
last interview with Mr. Charles Kemble and Fawcett. 

IN February, 1828, a very highly-esteemed and kind friend to 
Grimaldi, and an actress of deserved popularity, whose wonder- 
ful talents have gained for her universal praise and an ample 
fortune, and whose performances have been for many years the 
delight and admiration of the public Miss Kelly, called at 
his house to inquire after his health, and to ascertain whether it 
was probable that he would ever again be enabled to appear 
upon the stage. He replied, with natural emotion, that he 
could no longer dare even to hope that he should ever act more. 

" Then," asked Miss Kelly, "why not take a farewell benefit? 
I dare say you are not so rich as to despise the proceeds of such 
an undertaking." 

Grimaldi shook his head, and replying he was much poorer 
than anybody supposed, proceeded to lay before her his exact 
position, not omitting to point out, that whenever Sadler's 
Wells was again let by the proprietors, he would certainly lose 
his situation, and thus be deprived of his sole dependence. As 
to taking a benefit, he said, he felt so ill and depressed, that he 
could not venture to undergo the labour of getting one up, far 
less would his pecuniary means warrant his incurring the 
chance of a loss. 

"Leave it all to me," said Miss Kelly, "and I'll arrange 
pretty nearly everything for you without a moment's loss of 
time. There must be two benefits, one at Sadler's Wells, and 
the other at Covent Garden. The former benefit must take 
place first, so you go and consult the proprietors upon the 
subject at once, and I'll lose no time in furthering your inte- 
rests elsewhere." 

The promptitude and^ decision which Miss Kelly so kindly 
evinced, infused something of a similar spirit into the invalid, 
He promised that he would see the proprietors immediately ; 
and, in spite of a severe attack of spasms, which almost 
deprived him of speech, went that same night to Sadler's Wells, 
and _ stated ^his intention to take a farewell benefit. He was 
received with the greatest friendship and liberality : they at 
once entered into his views, and gave an unanswerable proof of 


the sincerity with which they did so, hy offering him the use of 
the house gratuitously. Monday, March the 17th, was fixed 
for the occasion ; and no sooner was it known decidedly when 
the benefit was to take place, than Mr. T. Dibdin, assembling 
the company, acquainted them with the circumstance, and 
suggested that their offering to play gratuitously would be both 
a well-timed compliment and a real assistance. The hint was 
no sooner given than it was most cheerfully, responded to : the 
performers immediately proffered their services, the band did 
the same, and every person in the theatre was anxious and 
eager to render every assistance in his or her power, and to 
" put their shoulders to the wheel, in behalf of poor old Joe." 

The following is a copy of the bill of performance put forth on 
this occasion : 



And Last Appearance at this Theatre. 
Monday, March 17, 1828. 

" It is most respectf ullv announced that Mr. Grimaldi, from 
severe and incessant indisposition, which has oppressed him 
upwards of four years, and continues without any hope of 
amelioration, finds himself compelled to quit the profession in 
which, from almost infancy, he has been honoured with as great 
a share of patronage and indulgence as ever fell to the lot of 
any candidate for public favour. Nor can he quit a theatre 
where his labours commenced, and were for so many years 
sanctioned, without attempting the honour of personally ex- 
pressing his gratitude ; and however inadequate he may prove 
to paint the sincerity of his feelings, it is his intention to offer 
an address of thanks to his friends and patrons, and conclude 
his services with the painful duty of bidding them 


" The entertainments will commence with the successful 
romance of * Sixes, or the Mend ;' Hock, (a drunken prisoner,) 
by Mr. Grimaldi. After which, the favourite burletta of 
* Humphrey Clinker ;' to which will be added the popular 
farce of ' Wives and Partners ;' and the whole to conclude with 
a grand Masquerade on the stage, in the course of which several 
novelties will be presented : Mr. Elackmore on the corde volante; 
Mr. Walbourn's dance as * Dusty Bob ;' Mr. Campbell's song of 
' Bound 'Prentice to a Waterman ;' Mrs. Searle's skipping-rope 
dance ; Mr. Payne's juggling evolutions ; and the celebrated 
dance between Mr. J. S. Grimaldi and Mr. Ellar. After which, 
Mr. Grimaldi will deliver his farewell address : and the whole 
will conclude with a brilliant display of fireworks, expressive of 


The house was crowded to suffocation on the night. He per- 


formed the trifling part for which he had been announced in 
the first piece, with considerable difficulty, but immense appro- 
bation, and in the stage of the performances in which it was 
announced in the bills of the day, came forward to deliver his 
Farewell Address, which ran thus : 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I appear before you this evening 
for the last time at this theatre. Doubtless, there are many 
persons present who think that I am a very aged man : I have 
now an opportunity of convincing them to the contrary. I was 
born on the 18th of December, 1779,* and, consequently, on the 
18th of last December attained, the age of forty-eight. 

" At a very early age before that of three years, f I was 
introduced to the public by my father at this theatre ; and ever 
since that period have I held a situation in this establishment. 
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have been engaged at this theatre 
for five-and-forty years. 

"By strict attention, perseverance, and exertion, did I arrive 
at the height of my profession, and, proud I am to acknowledge, 
have ofttimes been honoured with your smiles, approbation, and 
support. It is now three years since I have taken a regular 
engagement, owing to extreme and dangerous indisposition: 
with patience have I waited in ^ hopes my health might once 
more be re-established, and I again meet your smiles as before ; 
but, I regret to say, there is little, or, in fact, no improvement 
perceivable, and it would therefore now be folly in me ever to 
think of again returning to my professional duties. I could 
not, however, leave this theatre without returning my grateful 
thanks to my friends and patrons, and the public ; and now do 
I venture to offer them, secure in the conviction that they will 
not be slighted or deemed utterly unworthy of acceptance. 

" To the proprietors of this theatre, the performers, the gen- 
tlemen of the band in fact, to every individual connected with 
it, I likewise owe and offer my sincere thanks for their assist- 
ance this evening. And now, ladies and gentlemen, it only 
remains for me to utter one dreadful word, ere I depart rare- 
well ! God bless you all ! may you and your families ever 
enjoy the blessings of health and happiness ! Farewell !" 

He was received and listened to in the kindest and most 
encouraging manner ; but his spirits met with so severe a shock 
in bidding a formal farewell to his friends, that he did not 
entirely recover from the effects of it for some days, and so com- 
pletely dreaded going through a similar ordeal at Covent Garden, 
that had not Miss Kelly kept him firm to the task, he would have 
abandoned his intention with regard to the latter place altogether. 

The receipts of this benefit were 230Z. ; but he received a great 
number of anonymous letters, containing remittances, which 
amounted in the whole to 851. more ; so that he cleared by the 

* He was born December 18, 1778. 

t At Easter, 1781. Joe waa then but two years and four months old. 


night's performance, a total of 31-5^., which was a well-timed 
and most fortunate assistance to him. 

Some short time after this evening, Mr. T. Dibdin left Sadler's 
"Wells. He was succeeded in the capacity of stage-manager by 
Mr. Campbell, who retained the situation with credit to himself 
and satisfaction to the proprietors for several years : remaining 
in it, in fact, until the establishment was again let. 

On the 25th of March, being a little recovered, and having at 
last made up his mind to take the second benefit, Grimaldi 
walked to Co vent Garden, and having been warmly welcomed 
by the performers, went to Mr. Charles Kemble' s room, and was 
received by him in the most friendly manner. 

" Well, Joe," said he, "I hope you have come to say that you 
feel able to be with us again ?" 

" Indeed, my dear sir, it is unfortunately quite the reverse ; 
for I am come to tell you that I never shall act more." 

"I am very sorry to hear you say so, Joe ; I have been in 
hopes it would be otherwise," returned Mr. Kemble. 

" We have known each other a good many years, sir," said 

" We have indeed, Joe, many years !" 

"And I think, sir," continued Grimaldi, "that if it were in 
your power, you would willingly serve me ?" 

" Try me, Joe, try me !" 

He then stated his intention of taking a farewell benefit at 
Covent Garden, and requested Mr. Kemble's assistance in 
obtaining the use of the house, if possible, at a low price ; but 
if not, then upon the usual terms. 

Mr. Kemble listened until he had finished, and said, " My 
dear Joe, I perfectly understand you ; and if the theatre were 
solely mine, I should say, 'Take it 'tis yours, and without 
charge at all :' but, unfortunately, our theatre is in Chancery, 
and nothing can be done without the consent of others. How- 
ever, Joe, the proprietors meet every Tuesday, and I will 
mention it to them. So after Tuesday you shall hear from me." 

He thanked Mr. Kemble, and they parted. He awaited the 
arrival of the day fixed in great anxiety; but it came and 
passed, and so did another Tuesday, and several more days, 
without any intelligence arriving to relieve his suspense. Seeing 
it announced in the papers that Mr. Kemble was about to 
proceed to Edinburgh, to act there, he wrote a note to him, 
reminding him of what had passed between them, and request- 
ing a reply. This was on the 13th of April. In the evening of 
the same day he received an answer, not from Mr. Kemble him- 
self, but from Mr. llobertson, the respected treasurer of the 
theatre, which ran thus : 

you, in 

I am directed by the proprietors of this theatre to acquaint 
, in reply to your application relative to a benefit, that they 


much regret that the present situation of the theatre with regard 
to Chancery proceedings will prevent the possibility of their 
accommodating your wishes." 

The contents of this letter, of course, greatly disappointed and 
vexed Grimaldi, who, remembering the number of years he had 
been connected with the theatre, and the great favourite he had 
been with the public, could not help deeming it somewhat harsh 
and unkind conduct on the part of the proprietors to refuse him 
the house for one night, for which, of course, he would have paid. 

Mr. Price was the lessee of Drury Lane at this time, and once 
or twice Grimaldi thought of applying to him, but fearing it 
would be useless, dismissed the idea. In this state of indecision 
two or three weeks passed away, when one day he received a 
note from Mr. Dunn, the Drury Lane treasurer, requesting him 
to attend at the theatre at twelve o'clock next day, as Mr. Price 
wished to see him. _ On complying with this very unexpected 
invitation, he was informed by Mr. Dunn, that the lessee had 
been compelled to meet another party on business, and therefore 
could not wait to see him ; but that he was deputed to say, that 
he had been apprised of Grimaldi' s wish to take a benefit, and 
that the theatre was at his service for the evening of Friday, 
June 27th, 1828, the last night but one of the season. " That," 
added Mr. Dunn, " is unfortunately the only evening we can 
offer you. Had Mr. Price known earlier of your wishes, you 
would have had an extended choice of nights, and he would 
have felt happy in obliging so distinguished a veteran." 

Much delighted with this politeness and consideration, he 
gratefully accepted the theatre for the night mentioned. He 
was much puzzled at the time to think who could have men- 
tioned the circumstance to Mr. Price, and befriended him so 
greatly ; on mature consideration, however, he had little doubt 
that it was Lord Segrave to whom he was obliged, for when he 
told Miss Kelly that he had been offered Drury Lane, she re- 
membered Lord Segrave having expressed great surprise when 
she told him he had been refused Covent Garden, and his having 
added, that " he should see Price shortly." 

Every assistance that could be afforded him in arranging his 
benefit was cheerfully rendered. To three gentlemen in parti- 
cular, for the valuable and cordial aid they rendered to the inde 
fatigable exertions of Miss Kelly, he was under deep and lasting 
obligations. These were, Mr. James Wallack, Mr. W. Barry* 
more, and Mr. Peake, scarcely less a favourite with the public 
than with the members of the profession, to the literature of 
which his abilities and humour have been long and successfully 

About the middle of June, hearing that Mr. Charles Kemble 
had returned from the North, Grimaldi resolved to call upon 
him, and to thank him for the exertions which he felt assured 
he had made relative to his bei..ut. He had another object in 


view, which, was, to apprise him that he had entered into en- 
gagements of a satisfactory nature at Drury Lane ; which intel- 
ligence he hoped would afford him unmitigated satisfaction, 
after the strong desire he had always expressed for his prosperity. 

Mr. Charles Kemble was alone when Grimaldi was shown up 
to his room : he said, that having recently heard Mr. Kemble 
had returned from Scotland, he had determined to lose no time 
in calling to thank him for the exertidns which he had no doubt 
he had made to enable him to take a benefit at Coyent Garden. 
Although his kindness was unavailing, he was anxious to assure 
him that he perfectly appreciated it. He then went on to say, 
that Mr. Price had in the handsomest manner offered the use of 
Drury Lane Theatre, at which he was to take a benefit ^ on the 
27th ; and that he had every reason to believe, from the interest 
which was making for him, that it would be a very great one. 

Mr. Kemble was evidently surprised to hear this, and instead 
of manifesting the gratification which Grimaldi had expected, 
evinced feelings of a directly opposite nature. At length he ex- 
claimed; " Take a benefit at Drury Lane !" 

" Yes, sir," replied Grimaldi ; " and knowing that you feel a 
great interest in my success, I have called upon you to thank 
you for all your past kindness, and to inform you what I intend 
doing on my farewell night." 

With these words, he placed in Mr. Kemble's hands an an- 
nounce-bill, of which we subjoin a copy These bills were after- 
wards recalled, for reasons which will presently appear. 



" On Friday, June 27, 1828. 

It is respectfully announced, that Mr. Grimaldi, after 
more than four years of severe and unremitting indisposition, 
which continues ^ without hope of alleviation^ is compelled, 
finally, to relinquish a profession in which, from infancy, he has 
been honoured with as liberal a share of public patronage as ever 
has been uncorded to candidates of much higher pretensions. 

" Numerous patrons having expressed surprise that Mr 
Grimaldi's benefit did not take place at the Theatre Royal, 
Covent Garden, he takes the liberty of stating, that after bid- 
ding farewell to his friends and supporters at Sadler's Wells 
(the scene of his favoured exertions from the early age of three 
years), he applied to the present directors of Covent Garden 
Theatre, who, in the kindest manner, exprw*sed their regret 
that the well-known situation of the theatre precluded the 
possibility of indulging their strong inclination to comply with 
the request he had ventured to prefer. On transferring the 
application to Mr. Price, the lessee of the Theatre Royal, Drury 
Lane, Mr. Grimaldi has the pleasure to say, that it was acceded 


to with a celerity which enhanced the obligation, and demands 
his most sincere "acknowledgment. 

"Mr. Grimaldi made his first appearance* at the Theatre 
Boyal, Drury Lane, where he continued twenty-four years, 
and, hut for a very trifling misunderstanding, might have 
retained his engagement to the present time : it is, however, 
most grateful to his feelings to finish his public labours on the 
spot where they commenced, and where for nearly a quarter of 
a century his exertions were fostered by public indulgence, and 
stimulated by public applause, f 

" To many anxious friends who, from a genuine spirit of 
good-will, have inquired the cause why, during so long a period 
of professional exertion, Mr. Grimaldi has not been able to 
realize a competency that might have precluded the necessity 
of this appeal, he can only plead the expenses attendant on 
infirmities, produced by exhausting and laborious duties, the 
destructive burthen of which were felt some years before he 
finally yielded to their pressure, and which at length compelled 
him to relax his exertions at the period when ability to con- 
tinue them would have insured him a comfortable indepen- 
dence. However inadequate he may prove to the painful yet 
pleasing endeavour to express _ personally his gratitude on the 
night of his retreat, it is his intention to offer an address of 
thanks, in which, though mere words may not be equal to paint 
the depth and sincerity of his feelings, he will hope to gain 
credit for the heartfelt sensation of dutiful respect which ac- 
companies his last farewell." 

Mr. Kemble read the bill through very attentively, and laid 
it gently upon the table without saying a word, but still look- 
ing very much displeased. Grimaldi, not knowing very well 
what to say, remained silent, and nothing was said for a minute 
or two, when Fawcett entered the room. 

"Here, Fawcett," said Mr. Kemble, "here's a bill for you: 
read that." 

* Joe's assertion that " he made hia first appearance at Drnry Lane, where he 
continued twenty- four years," is very questionable ; he, in fact, said the con- 
trary in his farewell address at Sadler's Wells, at which theatre it is positive he 
appeared at Easter, 1781. Sheridan's "Kobinson Crusoe" was produced in 
January of that year, and twenty -four years would carry the time on to January, 
1805, but his last performance at Drury Lane was on November 9th in that year, 
and admitting the generally received belief of bis debut "in Robinson Crusoe," 
his continuing at Drury Lane would have been twenty-five years, not twenty- 

t To his old associate, Norman, the Pantaloon, Grimaldi, in a letter dated 
April 23, 1829, writes, " I suppose you know I have taken my farewell of the 
public, both at the Wells and, lastly, at Drury Lane, they having refused me 
at Covent Garden so much for my long and faithful services. Oh ! my poor old 
master, Mr. Harris ; God bless him ! had he been still in possession, I should 
not have asked such a favour a second time. I am now quite a retired gentleman, 
haviug only the Wells to look after, and that is of sotrifling a nature, it does not 
put me the least out of my way." 


Fawcett read it in profound silence, and when lie had done 
so, looked as if he could not at all understand what was going 
forward, or what he ought to do. At length he asked what he 
was to infer from it, and Mr. Kemble was about to reply, when 
Grimaldi interrupted him. 

"I beg your pardon, sir," he said, "but if Mr. Fawcett is to 
be appealed to in this business, it is but just that, before he 
expresses any opinion upon it, he should understand all the 

With this, he proceeded to detail them as briefly as he could. 
When he had finished, Mr. Kemble said, with an air of great 
vexation, " Why did you not say, that if you could not take a 
benefit here, you would do so at the other house ! I declare 
you should have had a night for nothing, sooner than you 
should have gone there." 

Although this remark was very unexpected, Grimaldi made 
no further reply than that he had never thought of applying to 
Mr. Price, but that that gentleman, he presumed at the solici- 
tation of some unknown friend, had made an offer to him ; he 
then begged Mr. Fawcett, as he now knew all, to express his 
opinion upon the matter. 

" Why, really," said that gentleman, " had I been situated as 
Grimaldi has been, I should certainly have acted as he has 
done. If one theatre could not accommodate me and another 
could, I should feel no hesitation in accepting an offer from the 
latter. However," added Mr. Fawcett, after this very manly 
and straightforward avowal, " I think it would be best, 
Grimaldi, and I hope you will take my; advice, not to send out 
this bill. It might be deemed offensive, and cannot, as I see, 
be productive of any good whatever." 

Grimaldi thanked him, and expressed his intention of acting 
upon his opinion. Addressing Mr. Kemble, he said, that from 
what had just before fallen from him, it appeared that if he had 
thought proper, he (Grimaldi) might have had Covent Garden 
for his benefit, even gratuitously ; but that presuming he had 
not the power of taking a benefit at Prury Lane, he had refused 
him, which was not the conduct of a friend, and was very 
unlike the treatment he had expected to receive. He then left 
the room, and never saw either gentleman again. 

Upon cool reflection he was inclined to consider that Mr. 
Kemble had some private and very good reasons, arising out of 
the management of the theatre, for acting as he had done, 
which there is little doubt was the case, as he could have 
neither had the intention nor the wish to injure a man whom 
he invariably treated with kindness and courtesy. 

The stage has now lost the services of both these gentlemen. 
Poor Fawcett died some time since, and Mr. Charles Xemble 
has retired from the boards of which he was so long, both from 
his public and private character, a shining ornament. 

Tt 9. 



1828 to 1836. 

The farewell benefit at Drury Lane Grimaldi's last appearance and parting 
address The Drury Lane Theatrical Fund, and its prompt reply to his com- 
munication Miserable career and death of his son His wife dies, and he 
returns from Woolwich (whither he had previously removed) to London 
His retirement. 

THE three gentlemen who were mentioned in conjunction with 
Miss Kelly, in the course of the last chapter, exerted themselves 
with so much energy, that Grimaldi's benefit far exceeded his 
most sanguine expectations. In addition to the most effective 
company of the theatre, were secured the services of Miss Kelly, 
and Madam Fearon;* Miss Fanny Ayton, Miss Love, f Mathews, 
Keeley, and Bartley, besides an immense number of pantomime 
performers, who crowded to offer their aid, and among whom 
were Barnes, Southby, Bidgway and his two sons, and young 
Grimaldi. Mr. James Wallack arranged everything, and 
exerted himself as much as he could have done if the night had 
been his own. The announced bill ran thus : 

On Friday, June 27tfi, 1828, 

will be performed, 

after which 

To be succeeded by 

and concluded with 


In which Mr. Grimaldi will act clown in one scene, sing a song, and 

speak his 

It was greatly in favour of the benefit, that Covent Garden 
had closed the night before ; the pit and galleries were com- 
pletely filled in less than half an hour after opening the doors, 
the boxes were very good from the first, and at half-price were 

* Mrs. Glossop. t Since, Mrs. Granby Calcraft. 


as crowded as the other parts of the house. In the last piece 
Grimaldi acted one scene, but being wholly unable to stand, 
went through it seated upon a chair. Even in this distressing 
condition he retained enough of his old humour to succeed in 
calling down repeated shouts of merriment and laughter. The 
song, too, in theatrical language, " went" as well as ever ; and 
at length, when the pantomime approached its termination, he 
made his appearance before the audience in his private dress, 
amidst thunders of applause. As soon as silence could be ob- 
tained, and he could muster up sufficient courage to speak, he 
advanced to the foot-lights, and delivered, as well as his emo- 
tions would permit, the following Farewell Address . 

" Ladies and Gentlemen : In putting off the clown's garment, 
allow me to drop also the clown's taciturnity, and address you 
in a few parting sentences. I entered early on this course of 
life, and leave it prematurely. Eight-and-forty years only 
have passed over my head but I am going as fast down the 
hill of life as that older Joe John Anderson. Like vaulting am- 
bition, I have overleaped myself, and pay the penalty in an 
advanced old age. If I have now any aptitude for tumbling, it 
is through bodily infirmity, for I am worse on my feet than I 
used to be on my head. It is four years since I jumped my last 
jump filched my last oyster boiled my last sausage and set 
in for retirement. Not quite so well provided for, I must 
acknowledge, as in the days of my clownship, for then, I dare 
say, some of you remember, I used to have a fowl in one pocket 
and sauce for it in the other. 

" To-night has seen me assume the motley for a short time 
it clung to my skin as I took it off, and the old cap and bells 
rang mournfully as I quitted them for ever. 

" With the same respectful feelings as ever do I find myself 
in your presence in the presence of my last audience this 
kindly assemblage so happily contradicting the adage that a 
favourite has no friends. Eor the benevolence that brought you 
hither accept, ladies and gentlemen, my warmest and most 
grateful thanks, and believe, that of one and all, Joseph Grimaldi 
takes a double leave, with a farewell on his lips, and a tear in 
his eyes. 

" Earewell ! That you and yours may ever enjoy that greatest 
earthly good health, is the sincere wish of your faithful and 
obliged servant. God bless you all !" 

It was with no trifling difficulty that Grimaldi reached the 
conclusion of this little speech, although the audience cheered 
loudly, and gave him every possible expression of encourage- 
ment and sympathy. When he had finished, he still stood in 
the same place, bewildered and motionless, his feelings being so 
greatly excited, that the little power illness had left wholly 


deserted him. In this condition he stood for a minute or two, 
when Mr. Harley, who was at the side scene, commiserating his 
emotion, kindly advanced and led him off the stage, assisted by 
his son. As a token of his respect and gratitude, Grimaldi took 
off a new wig which he wore on the occasion, and presented it to 
Mr. Harley, together with the original address, which he held in 
his hand. Our friend has them both, carefully preserved in a 
small museum of wigs, autographs, portraits, and other memo- 
rials of the most distinguished men in every branch of the pro- 
fession, of which for upwards of twenty-eight years he has been 
deservedly one of the most popular members. 

Having been led into a private room, and strengthened with 
a couple of glasses of Madeira, Grimaldi had to sustain another, 
and a scarcely less severe trial, in receiving the farewells and 
good wishes of his old associates. The street was thronged with 
people, who were waiting to see him come out, and as he entered 
the coach, which stood at the stage door, gave him three hearty 
cheers, amid which he drove off. But all was not over yet, for 
hundreds followed the vehicle until it reached his house, and 
upon getting out he was again hailed with a similar overwhelm- 
ing shout of approbation and regard ; nor could the crowd be 
prevailed upon to disperse until he had appeared on the top of 
the steps, and made his farewell bow. 

Grimaldi was too exhausted and nervous, after the trying 
scenes through which he had just passed, to make any calcula- 
tion that night of what the benefit had produced ; but the next 
day, being somewhat recovered, he entered into the matter, and 
found the result to be as follows: The house cost him 210Z., the 
printing 70. more, making the expenses 280Z. The money taken 
at the doors amounted to rather more than 400, besides which 
he sold 15QI. worth of tickets, making a total of 55QL Deducting 
the expenses, the clear profits of the benefit amounted to 270/. 

There was another source of great profit, which must not be 
forgotten, namely, the number of anonymous communications 
Grimaldi receivea, enclosing sums of money, and wishing him a 
happy retirement. He received six letters, each containing 20Z., 
eleven containing 10Z., and sixteen containing 5L each. Thus, 
the amount forwarded by unknown hands was no less than 310Z., 
which, added to the amount of profits just mentioned, makes the 
gross sum realized by this last benefit 580Z., besides the 315?. 
which he had cleared at Sadler's Wells. 

The highest tribute that can be paid to those who in secret 
forwarded their munificent donations, or to those who rendered 
him their valuable professional assistance, or to that large 
number who came forward to cheer the last public moments of a 
man who had so often, and so successfully, beguiled their leisure 
hours, is, that they smoothed the hard bed of premature and 
crippled old age, and rendered the slow decline of a life, scarcely 
in years past its prime, peaceful and contented. This benefit 


closed his theatrical existence, and filled his heart with, deep 
and lasting emotions of gratitude. 

Only one more circumstance connected with Grimaldi's 
theatrical existence remains to be told, and to that one we most 
anxiously and emphatically invite the attention of all who ad- 
mire the drama and what man of thought or feeling does 
not ? of all those who devote themselves to the cause of real 
charity and of all those who now, reaping large gains from the 
exercise of a glittering and dazzling profession, forget that youth, 
and strength will not last for ever, and that the more intoxi- 
cating their triumphs now, the more probable is the advent of a 
time of adversity and decay. 

Counting over his gains, and dwelling upon his helpless state, 
Grimaldi was not long in finding that even now, whenever his 
little salary at Sadler's Wells should cease, he would not have 
adequate means of support. There was only one source to 
which he could apply for relief, and to that source he at once 

It is well known to all our readers, that two charitable societies 
exist in London, called the Drury Lane and Covent Garden 
Theatrical Funds. They are distinct bodies, but were esta- 
blished with the same great and benevolent object. Every 
actor who, throughout his engagement at _ either ^ of the large 
theatres, contributes a certain portion of his earnings to one of 
these funds, is entitled, if he should ever be reduced to the neces- 
sity of seeking it, to an annuity in proportion to the time for 
which he has contributed. To one of these most excellent insti- 
tutions, the Drury Lane Theatrical Eund, Grimaldi had 
belonged for more than thirty years, promoting its interests not 
merely by his subscription, but by every means in his power. 
Feeling that in his hour of need and distress he had some claim 
upon its funds, he addressed the secretary, and stated the situa- 
tion to which he was reduced. Early on the following morning 
he was visited by the gentleman to whom he had applied, who 
informed him that he was awarded a pension of 100Z. a-year for 
the remainder of his life, and that he was deputed to pay him 
immediately the amount of one quarter in advance. His fears 
vanished at once, and he felt that want at all events could never 
be his portion.* 

It can be observed at no better place than this, that all appli- 
cations for relief from these funds are known only to the respec- 
tive committees, and that the names of all annuitants are kept 

* Mr. Harley, as master of the Drury Lane Fund, at the Annual Dinner of 
that glorious charity, in the June following Grimaldi's death, thus alluded to the 
assistance which the benevolence of their patrons had conferred on the distin- 
guished mime: "Yet shall delicacy suffer no violence in adducing one example, 
for death has hushed his cock-crowing cachination and uproarious merriment. 
The mortal Jupiter of practical joke the Michael Angelo of buffoonery, who, if 
be was Grim-all-day, was sure to make you chuckle at night, he was rendered 


strictly secret during their lives ; that the distribution of their 
property is confided to gentlemen accustomed to act with the 
utmost delicacy and discrimination, and that some of the greatest 
ornaments of the English stage have heen relieved in their old 
age, when their powers of amusing and delighting were gone, 
not as poor pensioners, or ohjects of compassion, hut as persons 
who, not forgetting their poor brethren in their affluence, were 
not themselves forgotten, when unexpected misfortune or sick- 
ness fell upon them. 

The unfortunate young man to whom allusion has been fre- 
quently made in the course of the last few pages, was, as may 
easily be imagined, one of the chief sources of Grimaldi's care 
and trouble in his latter days. After remaining in his house 
for two months in a state of madness, he grew better, left one 
night to attend Sadler's Wells, where he was engaged, and was 
seen no more until the middle of the following year, when he 
again presented himself in a state of insanity, and was conveyed 
to his own lodgings and carefully attended. The next year he 
was dismissed from Sadler's Wells on account of his dissolute 
conduct ; engaged at Drury Lane with a salary of eight pounds 
per week, most favourably received, and discharged at the end 
of the first season for his profligacy and drunkenness. 

After this, he obtained an engagement for a month at the 
Pavilion in Whitechapel Eoad, but left that theatre also in dis- 
grace, and fell into the lowest state of wretchedness and poverty. 
His dress had fallen to rags, his feet were thrust into two worn- 
out slippers, his face was pale with ^ disease, and squalid with 
dirt and want, and he was steeped in degradation. The man 
who might have earned with ease, with comfort, and respecta- 
bility, from six to seven hundred pounds a year, and have raised 
himself to far greater gains by common providence and care, 
was reduced to such a dreadful state of destitution and filth, 
that even his own parents could scarcely recognise him. 

He was again received, and again found a home with his sick 
father. At Christmas, 1829, he obtained a situation at the 
Goburg, through the kindness of Davidge, and there he remained 
until Easter, 1830, when he took the benefit of the Insolvent 
Debtors' Act, to relieve himself from the creditors who were 
hunting him down. His support in prison and contingent 

happy by your bounty. Yes, sirs, this star of eccentric brilliancy in the 
laughing hemisphere of fun and drollery this comical reminiscence of ' Me and 
my Neddy,' ' Mother Goose,' ' Hot Cockles,' and ' Tippitywitchet,' would have 
Bet in sorrow but for this institution. You raised his drooping spirit, borne 
down by domestic calamity ; you sustained his sinking frame, prostrated by 
premature decrepitude ; and sheltered him in honourable retirement ! Away 
then with the gloom of fanaticism and the cant of hypocrisy, obscuring the bright 
face of wit and genius ! This is true philanthropy, that buries not its gold in 
ostentatious charity, but builds its hospital in the human heart. 1 ' 


expenses, amounting to forty pounds, were all paid by his 

He next accepted an engagement at Edinburgh, which turned 
out a failure ; and another at Manchester, at Christmas, 1830, 
by which he gained a few pounds. He then returned to the 
Coburg, where he might have almost permanently remained, 
but for his own misconduct, which once again cast him on the 

In the following autumn, the son again presented himself at 
his father's door, reduced to a state of beggary and want not to 
be described. His mother, who had suffered greatly from his 
misdeeds, outrageous conduct, and gross and violent abuse, be- 
sought his father not to receive him, or aid him again, remem- 
bering how much he had already wasted the small remnant of 
his means only to minister to his extravagance and folly. But 
he could not witness his helpless and miserable state without 
compassion, and he was once more forgiven, once more became 
an inmate of the house, and remained there in a state of utter 

In 1832, Sadler's Wells was let out for one season to Mrs. 
Fitzwilliam and Mr. W. H. Williams. They retained Grimaldi 
for some little time, but finding that he must be dismissed very 
shortly, he made preparations ibr meeting the consequent reduc- 
tion of his income, by giving up the house in which he had 
lived for several years, and taking a cottage at Woolwich,* 
whither he had an additional inducement to retire, in the hope 
that change of air might prove beneficial to his wife, who had 
already been ill for some time. 

They repaired to their new house in the latter end of Septem- 
ber, and in the beginning of November the son received a letter 
from a brother actor, entreating him to perform for a benefit, at 
Sadler's Wells. His reception was so cordial and his acting so 
good, that on the very same evening, notwithstanding all that 
had previously passed, he was offered an engagement for the 
ensuing Christmas at the Coburg, and the next day, on his 
return to Woolwich, he communicated the intelligence. The 
following day was his birth-day he completed his thirtieth year 
that morning and before it had passed over, the then lessee of 

* Grimaldi's residence, while manager of the Wells, was at No. 8, Exmouth 
street, Spa-fields : in a letter, dated April 23, 1829, Joe writes" I have moved 
to No. 23, Garnault-place, Spa-fields, about two hundred yards from where I 
did live." This residence he relinquished at Michaelmas, 1832, and took a small 
house, No. 6, Prospect-row, Woolwich. Alter the death of his wife, several 
letters are addressed from 31, George-street, Woolwich ; one is emphatically 
dated " Wednesday, June 3rd, 1835 : Poor Mary's Birth-day." Joe says 
" The repairs of my new house are now complete, and I shall very soon be abla 
to quit where I am ; next door but one to Arthur's is my future residence." 
It was his last : the house he referred to was No. 33, Southampton-street, 


the Queen's Theatre waited upon him, and offered him an en- 
gagement for a short time at a weekly salary of 4l. He agreed 
to take it, and arranged to begin on the following Monday, 
November 25, in a part called Black Ca3sar. 

It was sorely against his father's will that ^ he went to fulfil 
this engagement, for his health had been waning for some time, 
and he was fearful that he might relapse into his old habits. 
However, he was determined to go, and borrowing some money 
of his father, as was his usual wont, he left Woolwich on the 
Sunday morning. 

On the "Wednesday, Grrimaldi had occasion to go to town, and 
eagerly embraced it as an opportunity for seeing his son, to 
whom, despite all the anxiety and losses he had caused him, he 
was still most tenderly attached. Se wrote to him, naming 
the friend's house at which he would be found, and the y9ung 
man came. He looked in excellent health was in high spirits, 
and boasted of his success in terms which from all accounts, it 
appeared, were justified by its extent. Shortly after dinner he 
left, observing, that as he had to appear in the first scene of the 
first piece, he had no time to lose. His father never saw him more. 

Gnmaldi returned to Woolwich next day, and anxiously 
hoped on Sunday to see the misguided man to dinner, agreeably 
to a promise he had made. The day passed away, but he did 
not come ; a few more days elapsed, and then he received an 
intimation from a stranger that his son was ill. He immediately 
wrote to a friend, (Mr. Glendinning the printer,) requesting him 
to ascertain the nature of his indisposition, which he feared was 
only the effect of some new intemperance, and if it should appear 
necessary, to procure him medical assistance. For two days he 
heard nothing ; but this did not alarm him, for he entertained 
no doubt that his son's illness would disappear when the fumes 
of the liquor he had drunk had evaporated. 

On the llth of December, a friend came to his house as he 
was sitting by his wife's bed, to which she was confined by 
illness, and when, with much difficulty, he had descended to the 
parlour, told him with great care and delicacy that his son was 

In one instant every feeling of decrepitude or bodily weakness 
left him; his limbs recovered their original vigour; all his 
lassitude and debility vanished ; a difficulty of breathing, under 
which he had long laboured, disappeared, and starting from his 
seat, he rushed to his wife's chamber, tearing, without the least 
difficulty, up a flight of stairs, which, a quarter of an^ hour 
before, it had taken him ten minutes to climb. He hurried to 
her bed-side, told her that her son was dead, heard her first 
passionate exclamation of grief, and falling into a chair, was 
once again an enfeebled and crippled old man. 

The remains of the young man were interred, a few days 
^afterwards, in the burial-ground of Whitfield's Tabernacle, in 


Tottenham-court-road ; ^but some circumstances, apparently of 
a suspicious nature, being afterwards rumoured about, and it 
being whispered that marks of blows had been seen upon his 
head by those who laid him out, an inquest was holden upon, 
the young man's body. Grimaldi states that the body was ex- 
humed : from some passages in the newspapers of the day, it 
would appear that an informal inquest was held, and that the 
body was not disinterred. Be this as it may, it was proved 
before the coroner that his death had arisen from the natural 
consequences of a mis- spent life ; that his body was covered 
with a fearful inflammation, and that he had died in a state of 
wild and furious madness, rising from his bed and dressing 
himself in stage costume to act snatches of the parts to which he 
had been most accustomed, and requiring to be held down to die, 
by strong manual force. ^ This closing scene of his life took 
place at a public house in Pitt-street, Tottenham-court-road, 
and here the dismal tragedy ended. 

It was long before Grimaldi in any degree recovered this great 
shock ; his wife never did. She lingered on in a state of great 
suffering for two years afterwards, until death happily relieved 

He was now left alone in the world ; he had always been a 
domesticated man, delighting in nothing more than in the 
society of his relations and friends ; and the condition of solitary 
desolation in which he was now left, nearly drove him into a 
state of melancholy madness. His crippled limbs and broken 
bodily health rendered it necessary to his existence that he 
should have an attentive nurse, and occasionally at least cheer- 
ful society; finding his situation wholly insupportable, he 
resolved to return to town, and wrote to a friend,* whose wife 
was his only remaining relative, to procure a small house for 

* Mr. Arthur, then residing at 35, Southampton-street, but since dead : hia 
widow and family have left the neighbourhood. Mrs. Arthur was not " Gri- 
maldi's only remaining relation ;" she was originally a servant to Mr. Hughes, 
Joe's brother-in-law. Grimaldi's house was No. 33 in the same street, not 
" next door," and his solicitude to reach town, and occupy this house, his last 
home, is the subject of a long letter, now among many of Joe's autographs, in 
the possession of a gentleman resident in Highbury Park, Islington. 

Early in the biography of Grimaldi, it will be remembered, mention is made 
of a sister, and in fact she is noticed as having made her dtbut with him at 
Sadler's Wells, in 1781. This sister, according to Decastro, was named Mary, 
and married Signer Grimaldi's pupil, Lascelles Williamson ; but of late years 
had been altogether lost sight of. Joe remembered her not in the disposal of 
his effects in his will ; but soon after his death and the circumstance became 
known through the newspapers Joe's executor received a letter, in the name 
of Jane Taylor, which stated that she was in extreme poverty ; that she was 
Joe's sister, and mournfuDy asked if he had borne her in mind, and had be- 
queathed her any assistance. The executor replied, that she had not been 
mentioned by Grimaldi in any way ; and the recipients of what he possessed 
had been named by himself. 

No further application followed; and probably she sleeps too with her 
kindred clay. 


him in his own neighbourhood, where he too had lived so long 
and happily. A neat little dwelling-, next door to this friend's 
house, in Southampton-street, Pentonville, being at that time 
to let, was taken and furnished for him, and thither he removed 
without more delay. Many of his old friends came from time to 
time to cheer him with a few minutes' conversation, and he 
experienced the warmest and kindest treatment from his neigh- 
bours, and from Mr. Richard Hughes, who bore in mind his 
promise to his dying sister, to the last moment of Grimaldi's life. 

He concludes his Memoirs by taking a more cheerful view of 
his condition than could well have been expected of a man 
suffering so much, and ends in these words : 

" My histrionic acquaintance frequently favour me with their 
company, when we together review past scenes, and contrast 
them with those of the present time. My esteemed friend, 
Alfred Bunn, has been with me this very day, and I expect to 
see my amiable patroness, if she will permit me to call her so, 
Miss Kelly, to-morrow. 

" In my solitary hours and in spite of all the kindness of my 
friends I have many of them my thoughts often dwell upon 
the past : and there is one circumstance which always affords 
me unmitigated satisfaction; it is simply that I cannot recol- 
lect one single instance in which I have intentionally wronged 
man, woman, or child, and this gives me great satisfaction and 

" This is the 18th of December, 1836. I was born on the 18th 
of December, 1779, and consequently have completed my 57th 

" Life is a game we are bound to play 
The wise enjoy it, fools grow sick of it; 
Losers, we find, have the stakes to pay, 
l.tot winners may laugh, for that's the trick of it. 

'* J fc GrBIMAlDI." 



GHIMALDI died on the 31st of May, 1837, having survived thf 
completion of the last chapter of his biography just five months, 
during which his health had considerably improved, although 
his bodily energies and physical powers had remained in the 
same state of hopeless prostration. Having gradually recovered 
the effects of the severe mental shocks which had crowded upon 
him in his decline, he had regained his habitual serenity and 
cheerfulness, and appeared likely to live, and even to enjoy life 
incompatible with all enjoyment as his condition would seem 
to have been for many years. He had no other wish than to 
be happy in the society of his old friends ; and uttered no other 
eomplaint than that, in their absence, he sometimes found his 
aolitude heavy and irksome. He looked forward to the publi- 
cation of his manuscript with an anxiety which it is impossible 
to describe, and imagined that the day on which he exhibited it 
in a complete form to his friends, would be the proudest of his 

He was destined never to experience this harmless gratifica- 
tion; the sudden dissolution which deprived him of it, mercifully 
released him from all the pains and sufferings which could not 
fail to have been, sooner or later, the attendants upon that state 
of death in life to which he had been untimely reduced. 

It had been Grimaldi's habit for some time previous to his 
death, to spend a portion of each evening at a tavern hard by, 
where the society of a few respectable persons, resident in the 
neighbourhood, in some measure compensated him for the many 
long hours he spent by his lonely fireside. Utterly bereft of the 
use of his limbs, he used to be carried backwards and forwards 
(he had only a few doors to go) on the shoulders of a man. 

On the night of his death,* he was carried home in the usual 
manner, and cheerfully bidding his companion good night, 
observed that he should be ready for him on the morrow at the 
customary time. He had not long been in bed, when his house- 
keeper fancying she heard a noise in his room, hurried down, 

* Grimaldi for some months previous to his death frequented the coffee-room ot 
the " Marquis of Cornwallia" Tavern in Southampton-street, Pentonville. Mr. 
George Cook, the proprietor, considering his infirmity, or loss of the use of his 
tower extremities, used to fetch him on his back, and take him home in the same 
manner. On the Wednesday evening, May 31st, he was brought to the coffee- 


but all was quiet : she went in again later in the night, and 
found him dead. The body was cold, for he had been dead some 

A coroner's inquest was held on the following day. The 
testimony of the medical gentlemen who had been promptly 
called in, fully established the fact that his death had arisen 
from causes purely natural ; and the jury at once returned a 
verdict that he had died by the visitation of God. 

He was buried on the ensuing Monday, June the 6th, in the 
burying-ground of St. James's Chapel, on Pentonville Hill. In 
the next grave lie the bones of his friend, Mr. Charles Dibdin, 
so frequently mentioned in these volumes; the author of 
many of the pieces in which he shone in his best days, and of 
many of the songs with which he was wont to set his audience 
in a roar.* 

Any attempted summary of Grimaldi's peculiarities in this 

room by Mr. Cook, and seemed quite exhilarated ; his conversation and humour 
smacking of the vivacity of former years ; and his anecdotes of the olden times 
and past events contributed a fund of amusement to those enjoying the con- 
viviality of the night. Joe's customary beverage was a little Scotch ale, or a 
small quantity of gin and water, during the evening. On the inquest, Joe's 
housekeeper, Susannah Hill, stated that on Wednesday evening he complained 
to her of a tightness of the chest, and his appetite seemed not so good as usual. 
About half-past ten, she went to the Marquis of Coriiwallis, to apprise her 
master that it was time to return home ; and assisted him on to Mr. Cook's 
back. Joe, as usual, quite sober, reached home about a quarter before eleven ; 
and on parting said to Mr. Cook, " God bless you, my boy, I shall be ready for 
you to-morrow night 1" His housekeeper assisted Grimaldi to his bedroom, 
placed a light on his table, as was her custom, then retired to her bedroom. 
In the course of the night she was awakened by an unusual noise, similar to loud 
snoring in her master's room. She rose, went in, but all was then quiet, the 
light still burning ; and she returned to her bed. Between five and six o'clock 
in the morning, having risen, she went into Grimaldi's room, and on approaching 
the bed was shocked on discovering her master a corpse. She ran for Mr. 
Fennill, a suryeonin the neighbourhood, who immediately attended; pronounced 
him quite dead ; said that he had been so some hours ; and that his death he 
had no doubt arose from natural causes. The inquest held at the Marquis of 
Cornwallis declared their verdict, "Died by the visitation of God." 

Joe was consigned to his last home at one o'clock in the afternoon of Monday, 
June 5th : the funeral was strictly private and simply plain a hearse and two 
mourning coaches, in which were Mr. Richard Hughes, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Arthur, 
Mr. Dayus, Treasurer of Sadler's Wells ; Mr. Norman, Mr, Wells, of the Sir 
Hugh Myddleton's Head Tavern, Mr. Lawrence, Treasurer of the Surrey 
Theatre, and three other private friends. So little was the interment expected 
BO soon, that but one or two of his professional friends were present, and a few 
casual spectators were all who witnessed his funeral. 

* The following inscription is on his grave-stone : 




MAT 31st, 1837, 



place would be an impertinence. There are many who re- 
member him, and they need not be told how rich his humour 
was : to those who do not recollect him in his great days, it 
would be impossible to convey any adequate idea of his extraor- 
dinary performances. There are no standards to compare him 
with, or models to judge him by ; all his excellences were his 
own, and there are none resembling them among the pantomime 
actors of the present day. 

This is not said with any view of depreciating the abilities of 
the many clever actors we have in this peculiar department. 
Among a variety of others, Smith and Payne of Covent CKtrden, 
(not of Lombard- street), and Wieland, of Drury Lane, may be 
mentioned as possessing grotesque humour of no ordinary kind ; 
while for mere feats of tumbling dexterity, Brown, King, and 
Gibson of the Adelphi, perhaps stand unrivalled. It is no dis- 
paragement to all or any of these actors of pantomime, to say, 
that the genuine droll, the grimacing, filching, irresistible clown 
left the stage with Grimaldi, and though often heard of, has 
never since been seen.* 

In private, Grimaldi was a general favourite, not only among 
his equals, but with his superiors and inferiors. That he was a 
man of the kindest heart, and the most child-like simplicity, 
nobody who has ^ read the foregoing pages can for a moment 
doubt. He was innocent of all caution in worldly matters, and 
has been known, on the seller's warranty, f to give forty guineas 
for a gold watch, which, as it subsequently turned out, would 
have been dear at ten. Among many acts of private goodness 
may be mentioned although he shrunk from the slightest 
allusion to the story his release of a brother actor from Lan- 
caster jail, under circumstances which showed a pure benevolence 
of heart, and delicacy of feeling, that would have done honour 
to aprince. 

With far more temptations to indulge in the pleasures of the 
table than most men encounter, Grimaldi was through life re- 
markably temperate, never having been seen, indeed, in a state 
of intoxication. But he was a great eater, as most pantomime 
actors are, who enjoy good health, and abstain from dram- 
drinking ; and it was supposed, at the time of his decease, that 

* Tom Matthews, perhaps, presents at this time the nearest approach. 
tThe seller's warranty was doubtless that of some Jew money-lender, bj 
hich class of persons he seems to have been almost devoured : when their 
pressure became insupportable, or they pushed their claims to a consummation 
not too devoutly to be wished, and sent a sheriff's officer to enforce the demand, 
Joe was wont to accompany them to the shop of Mr. Crouch, a pawnbroker, in 
Ray-street, Clerkenwell, by whom the sum was immediately paid. When the 
hour approached for his appearance at the Wells, the messenger belonging to 
the theatre, always knew where to find him ; and being told the sum required to 
redeem him, Joe would wait patiently till he returned and released him; he 
would then proceed to delight an audience, who had tut a few minutes before 
threatened to pull the house down if he did not appear. 


an attack of indigestion consequent upon too hearty a supper 
at too late an hour materially hastened, if it did not actually 
occasion, his death. 

Many readers will ridicule the idea of a clown being- a man of 
great feeling and sensibility : Grimaldi was so, notwithstanding, 
and suffered most severely from the afflictions which befel him. 
The loss of his wife, to whom he had been long and devotedly 
attached, preyed upon his mind to a greater or less extent for 
many years. The reckless career and dreadful death of his 
only son bowed him down with grief. The young man's noto- 
rious conduct had embittered the best portion of his existence : 
and his sudden death, when a better course seemed opening 
before him, had well-nigh terminated his unhappy father's days. 

But although, in the weakened state in which he then was, 
the sad event preying alike upon his mind and body, changed 
Grimaldi's appearance in a few weeks to that of a shrunken, 
imb6cile old man ; and although, when he had in some measure 
recovered from this heavy blow, he had to mourn the loss of his 
wife, with whom he had lived happily for more than thirty 
years, he survived the trials to which he had been exposed, and 
lived to recover his cheerfulness and peace. 

Deprived of all power of motion ; doomed to bear, at a time 
of life when he might reasonably have looked forward to many 
years of activity and exertion, the worst bodily evils of the most 
helpless old age ; condemned to drag out the remainder of his 
days in a solitary chamber, when all those who make up the 
sum of home were cold in death, his existence would seem to 
have been a weary one indeed ; but he was patient and resigned 
under all these trials, and in time grew contented, and even 

This strong endurance of griefs so keen, and reverses so 
poignant may perhaps teach more strongly than a hundred 
homilies, that there are no afflictions which time will not soften 
and fortitude overcome. Let those who smile at the deduction 
of so trite a moral from the biography of a clown, reflect, that the 
fewer the resources of a man's own mind, the greater his merit 
in rising superior to misfortune. Let them remember too, that 
in this case the light and life of a brilliant theatre were ex- 
changed in an instant for the gloom and sadness of a dull sick- 









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